Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 10/29

Game 1: Wednesday, October 29th
Game 2: Saturday, December 27th
Game 3: Monday, January 19th
Game 4: Thursday, February 26th

Wizards 99

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Bulls 74

(0-1, 0-1 home)

    7:30 PM ET, October 29, 2003

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    WSH 20 23 26 3099
    CHI 15 16 26 1774

    Top Performers

    Washington: E. Thomas 13 Pts, 13 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Chicago: J. Rose 15 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

    Balanced scoring propels Washington

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Eddy Curry doesn't blame the Chicago fans for booing. As bad as the Bulls played, he thought the crowd let them off easy.

    Gilbert Arenas and Larry Hughes led six Washington players in double figures as the Wizards outshot, outplayed, outhustled, outeverythinged the Bulls in a 99-74 victory Wednesday night.

    Chicago shot less than 32 percent as it tied the franchise record for the worst loss in a season opener. Only three players finished in double figures. Curry, expected to have a breakout year, managed just nine points on 3-of-10 shooting and six rebounds.

    "They should have got a lot worse," Curry said of fans, who booed the Bulls as they fell behind by as many as 27 points in the fourth quarter.

    "I was expecting them to start throwing stuff."

    No, they simply left. By the time the game ended, few fans were still in the stands. Not exactly a great homecoming for Scottie Pippen, who is back in a Bulls uniform for the first time since winning the 1998 NBA title.

    "We've got a long ways to go from a defensive standpoint," said Pippen, who finished with seven points, seven rebounds and two assists and received a long ovation when he was introduced before the game. "Washington is not a team that we would expect to come in here and put up so many points on our court."

    Give Arenas some credit for that. The league's most improved player last year with Golden State was Washington's biggest free agent acquisition in the offseason, signing a six-year, $65 million contract. And the change of address doesn't appear to have slowed him down.

    He scored a team-high eight points in the first half as the Wizards took a 43-31 lead, and the Bulls never recovered.

    Jamal Crawford pulled the Bulls within 67-57 with a 3-pointer in the final minute of the third quarter, but Arenas and Hughes quickly put the game out of reach. Arenas opened the fourth quarter with a 3, and Hughes hit a 23-foot jumper to start 7-0 run. He capped it with a 20-footer that gave Washington an 82-60 lead.

    Arenas finished with 18 points and six assists, while Hughes had 20 points and Etan Thomas had 13 points and 13 rebounds.

    "We've got to get the rest of the ship started," Arenas said of the roles he and Hughes play. "It took all preseason to get the kinks out. I know we looked terrible out there in the preseason, but we knew what we could do.

    "(Coach) gave us the freedom, and we did what we did."

    Chicago was plagued by injuries all preseason, never able to put its full team on the floor. The injury woes continued Wednesday, with Tyson Chandler on the bench with a lower back strain.

    But the Bulls said that was no excuse for their lethargic effort. They got off to a sluggish, clunky start, and never quite found their rhythm.

    And the Wizards wasted little time taking advantage of Chicago's lack of energy. With five minutes left in the first quarter, Jarvis Hayes scored on a layup to spark a 9-0 run that gave Washington a 20-11 lead.

    The Bulls scored three straight baskets to pull within 20-17 at the start of the second quarter, but it was the closest they would get the rest of the game.

    "This was an embarrassment to our team, an embarrassment to our fans, an embarrassment to ourselves," said Jalen Rose, who led the Bulls with 15 points. "There's no excuse."

    Game notes

    The Bulls lost their 2001-02 opener 98-73 to the Indiana Pacers. ... The Bulls had 19 turnovers. ... Washington outscored the Bulls 46-26 in the paint. ... Despite high expectations for the Bulls, the game wasn't a sellout.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 99 74
    FGM-FGA 37-76 (.487) 26-82 (.317)
    3PM-3PA 5-12 (.417) 3-13 (.231)
    FTM-FTA 20-30 (.667) 19-31 (.613)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-48 18-47
    Assists 25 16
    Turnovers 18 19
    Steals 12 9
    Blocks 5 8
    Fast Break Points 5 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 23 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Etan Thomas Thomas
    Points: 13
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0
    Jalen Rose Rose
    Points: 15
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0