The Bullets, who entered the game with the worst record in the East, beat Milwaukee, 114-107, at the Bradley Center to end a three-game losing streak.
It was the Bullets' second victory in seven games.
The game, for three quarters, was almost a joke. Only a gritty fourth quarter, when the Bucks charged back to pull within 104-97, kept the game respectable.
Until then, the Bullets were the superior team. They played with spirit and intensity. The Bucks looked lethargic.
That resulted in the Bullets' taking control of the game early, thanks primarily to guards Michael Adams and Rex Chapman and forward Larry Stewart.
Adams, who shared game scoring honors with Chapman with 24 points, had 11 points in the Bullets' 40-point third quarter, but he was at his best in the first quarter.
After hitting a jumper to give the Bullets their first points of the game, Adams followed with a 17-foot jumper and a three-pointer from the corner.
By the end of the first quarter, Adams, who was coming off a 19-point, 11-assist performance in a one-point loss to Boston on Sunday, had 12 points.
"I had some good shots, and I was fortunate enough to hit them," said Adams. "This is a shooter's court. I scored my career high here [54 points, with Denver, March 23, 1991], I feel very comfortable here."
In the quarter, Adams hit all five field goals and both free throws, helping Washington take a 25-18 lead heading into the second quarter.
"They came out slow and we jumped on them right away," said Tom Gugliotta, who had a game-high 13 rebounds. "We never gave them any kind of rhythm. We played well."
That's where Chapman and Stewart took over. Chapman, who had an 18-point fourth quarter against the Celtics, was scoreless in the first period last night. Then he became the thorn in the Bucks' side.
In one stretch in the second quarter, Chapman scored six straight, giving the Bullets a 41-34 lead. Chapman capped his big quarter by hitting a three-pointer, as Washington held a 50-43 lead at halftime.
"There's no question they have the talent," the Bucks' Todd Day said of the Bullets. "We came out kind of slow. You could see how flat we were."
Of Adams, Day said: "He took us out of our structure. He pushes the ball so well that they can get so many easy transition baskets, and that's what they did tonight."
Stewart, who had eight points in the first half, added six in the third quarter as the Bullets continued to keep the Bucks at bay.
Said Bullets coach Wes Unseld: "I thought we played a pretty good game yesterday against Boston, and I thought we kept it going today."
In third quarter, Harvey Grant assumed the scoring role with nine of his 23 points and bolstered Washington's lead to 67-55.
The Bullets finished the third quarter in front 90-73. They shot 76 percent from the field in the period -- 16 of 21.