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Wizards lose 2nd straight, 113-103


CHICAGO -- If some budding entrepreneur were smart, he or she would start printing Chicago Bulls jerseys bearing such names as Jannero Hinrich, Othella Piatkowski and Adrian Nocioni.

What better way to capture the essence of this Bulls team, which seized control of its Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with a 113-103 victory over the Washington Wizards last night before a packed United Center?

Gilbert Arenas scored a game-high 39 points for the Wizards. Larry Hughes added 19 points and Antawn Jamison 18.

For the Bulls, the names and performances have become interchangeable, the depth dominant.

Chicago's top-ranked bench kept the team in the game during a sluggish, foul-filled first half by the starters, and Kirk Hinrich took over after the break, sending this series to Washington for Saturday's Game 3.

Only eight teams have rallied from an 0-2 hole to win a series in the 317 best-of-seven series played since 1946-47.

"You've seen it all year," Bulls coach Scott Skiles said. "I'm not afraid to go to the bench, and almost every single night it has been more productive than the other team's. They're always ready. It was obvious. They picked us up."

Hinrich scored 25 of his career-high-tying 34 points in the second half, making nine of 10 shots after the break and 12 of 15 overall. He also had 21 points in the fourth quarter, which were only three off Michael Jordan's franchise record of 24.

The Bulls also got 18 points from Antonio Davis and 10 points and seven rebounds from Andres Nocioni. Their bench outscored Washington's, 38-18.

Arenas' 39 included a three-pointer with 90 seconds left to cut a Bulls lead that once stood at 20 to 107-101.

Fittingly, Hinrich answered 17 seconds later with a three-pointer to clinch it.

All season the Bulls have received contributions from a multitude of players. Last night, 10 Bulls scored.

In a game-turning, 36-14 stretch during the second quarter, eight Bulls scored. None was named Ben Gordon, who finished with 14.

Here's how well things went for the Bulls in the second half: Gordon drove the lane, only to lose control of the ball, which he hit in the air as he tried to regain control -- and it went in off the glass.

Three possessions later, Adrian Griffin corralled a rebound -- while sitting on the floor.

Hinrich went off in the second half despite playing with four fouls for all but 38 seconds.

That's why after the crowd of 22,605 tried to reprise its Game 1 chant of "Noc-I-oni" throughout the game, it finally resorted to "Hin-rich!" in the final minutes.

The Chicago Tribune is s Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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