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Washington closes it out with an 18-9 run

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Every Washington Wizards victory lately has
caused heads to peer into record books. The latest high-water mark?
A 10-5 record that marks the franchise's best start in 30 years.

"There's going to be a lot of that," Larry Hughes said after
Saturday's 95-88 victory over the Chicago Bulls. "Y'all are going
to come in here and say a lot of things about the years going back.

Certainly, the Washington teams of the past 15 years would have
found a way to lose to a last-place team that led until late in the
fourth quarter. But Gilbert Arenas suffered through back and calf
cramps to score a season-high 34 points, and Hughes padded his NBA
lead with seven of his team's 17 steals.

"We don't have the same team we had last year -- or the year
before," Arenas said. "It's a different team. We got a different
attitude, and we want to win."

The Bulls led most of the game despite committing a season-high
29 turnovers. The Wizards shot just 35 percent and were
outrebounded 50-35, but they closed the game with a 18-9 run for
their fourth straight win and seventh in eight games.

The Wizards' 15-game record is their best since the 1974-75 team
started 11-4 and won a franchise record 60 games.

Arenas was key on a night that Hughes and Antawn Jamison
struggled, but the recent brawl in Detroit played a part in the
passionate dunk by Brendan Haywood that put the Wizards ahead for
good with 2:36 to play.

Haywood, Hughes and Chicago's Antonio Davis and Eddy Curry all
got suspensions after a fight during a preseason game, and Haywood
and Curry came close to going at it again after a mean tussle on
the floor for a jump ball.

"I was thinking, I just don't feel like giving (NBA vice
president) Stu Jackson and the league $60,000 more of my money,"
said Haywood, explaining why the moment didn't turn ugly.

Instead, Haywood manifested his anger seconds later by taking
Jared Jeffries' pass and sliding along the baseline for the big
dunk, only his second basket of the game.

"I guess you could say it did motivate me, because when I saw
it was Tyson in there, I wanted to go to the rim hard," Haywood
said.

Hughes scored 18 points with his career-high seven steals. He
now leads the league with 48 steals. Jamison added 14 points and 13
rebounds.

Tyson Chandler had 15 points and a season-high 21 rebounds for
the Bulls, who fell to 2-12. Andres Nocioni scored 16. Curry and
Kirk Hinrich each had 15, although Hinrich scored only two after
halftime.

"We've found a way to lose games instead of finding a way to
win them," Davis said. "It's unfortunate because those
(turnovers) are the things we talk about before the game. You'd
almost rather a guy stand there and hold it for too long than to
just fling it across the floor."

Hinrich's jump shots put the Wizards on their heels early, and
solid play from Chandler and Nocioni off the bench in the second
quarter helped the Bulls build a 13-point lead that stunned much of
the crowd into silence. Arenas' flying dunk cut the deficit to
seven at halftime.

Game notes
The Wizards' last four-game winning streak was Dec. 31 to
Jan. 8, 2002-03. ... Washington has won 10 of 13 in the series. ...
Wizards guard Steve Blake missed his second straight game, a
setback in his recovery from ankle surgery. ... Jamison headed to
the locker room near the end of the first half to get two stitches
under his left eye. ... The Bulls led by one after three quarters,
only the second time all season they've been ahead going into the
fourth. ... The game began a five-game homestand for the Wizards,
while the Bulls begin five in a row at home on Monday against San
Antonio.