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