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Bulls pull away from Bullets, 112-94 Jordan cools off, but Chicago doesn't


LANDOVER -- Michael Jordan proved last night that he doesn't have to score a lot to make the Chicago Bulls a better team.

Jordan, the National Basketball Association's leading scorer, managed an unspectacular 20 points against the Washington Bullets, but the Bulls outscored the Bullets, 83-46, during the 35 minutes Jordan was in the game en route to a 112-94 victory before a sellout crowd of 18,756 at the Capital Centre.

"It's been a good effort by the whole team all year long," Jordan said. "The important thing is to go out and win. I'm not going to be the dominant player every night."

Last night, forwards Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant shared that role.

Pippen, who is negotiating with the Bulls for a new contract, scored 22 points, including 11 in the third quarter, as the Bulls built on an 11-point halftime lead and pulled away from the Bullets. Washington lost its second straight and saw its three-game home winning streak come to an end.

Grant showed no sign of the stiff neck that has slowed him lately. He controlled the boards for the Bulls with 13 rebounds and also scored 22 points. Chicago outrebounded the Bullets, 42-25.

"Darryl Walker did a superb job on Jordan," said Bullets forward John Williams. "He [Jordan] worked for every bit of his 20 points. The other guys hurt us."

Williams led the Bullets in scoring for the third straight game with 27 points. The veteran forward, who is battling back from a knee injury and a weight problem, hit four of six three-pointers, including three of three in the first half.

"A couple of shots are starting to fall now. That's the big difference," Williams said. "Once certain shots start to fall, you start to get more confidence in your shot and in yourself."

Jordan, who entered last night's game as the league's leading scorer (31.0), made just seven of 17 shots. Jordan was coming off a 42-point performance Thursday night in a win at New Jersey. He had averaged 38.3 points in his previous three games while shooting 61 percent from the field.

Despite his subpar effort last night, Jordan tied George Gervin for third place on the all-time list of consecutive games scoring in double figures (407).

Last night's win improved the Bulls' road record to 22-13. They have won 11 of their past 13 and have the league's best record. Chicago had lost two straight at the Capital Centre heading into last night's game.

"It has been tough playing here [Capital Centre], and I think if Bernard King [sore back] had played it would have been a tougher game tonight," Pippen said. "But we've been playing well on the road."

Tomorrow the Bulls have a nationally televised showdown in Boston against the Celtics, the Eastern Conference's second-place team.

Last night the Bulls started quickly, hitting 62 percent (13-of-21) of their first-quarter shots while building a 28-17 lead.

But Williams rallied the Bullets in the second quarter with 15 points.

Chicago led, 38-26, in the second quarter before Williams sparked a 7-0 run. Ledell Eackles hit a jumper to make it 38-28, then Williams stole the ball and fed Eackles for a three-point play to make it 38-31. After Craig Hodges missed a jumper, Williams nailed his first three-pointer to cut Chicago's lead to 38-34 with 8:28 left.

Williams' second three-pointer cut the Chicago lead to 46-44, but Chicago ran off nine of the next 11 points to build its lead to 55-46, and Washington did not get closer than seven the rest of the half, which ended with Chicago ahead, 61-50.

The Bullets got no closer than 11 in the second half.

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