CHICAGO, NOV. 28 -- NCer, Baby, as Dick Vitale would say. No contest.
The Washington Bullets have no margin for error this season. And tonight, they ran into a white-hot Chicago Bulls team that ran wild in a 118-94 rout in front of 18,165 at Chicago Stadium.
The Bulls (8-6) ended Washington's modest two-game winning streak by shooting better than 72 percent from the field in the first half. Michael Jordan didn't miss until two minutes were gone in the third quarter. It was that kind of evening.
Normally, when the Bullets don't score transition points, it's because they're outrebounded. Tonight was not a rebounding fault. They had only two fast-break points in the first half because they were taking the ball out of the net nearly every time.
Jordan scored 20 of his game-high 24 points in the first half, making nine of nine from the field. Chicago shot 60 percent (54 of 90) for the game. Guard B.J. Armstrong led five others in double figures with 16 points.
"They were hot," Bullets Coach Wes Unseld said, "and I don't think we had the intensity that we would have liked. There were too many easy shots. We can't allow teams to score over a certain amount of points because we have trouble scoring ourselves."
Pervis Ellison was the lone bright spot for Washington (4-9), scoring a season-high 17 points with a career-high 14 rebounds in 33 minutes. Unseld left him on the court long after the issue had been decided.
Bernard King got in foul trouble early in the second half and played sparingly thereafter, scoring 16, almost 15 below his league-leading average. Harvey Grant also had 16 for Washington; Darrell Walker, 11.
"Our home is our house," Jordan said. "We've got to take care of it and we got off to a good start tonight. We stayed up on them. Our defensive intensity was great and we did exactly what we wanted to with King."
Washington had beaten Chicago the second game of the season. The Bulls used that as motivation for their first home game in two weeks, after a western swing.
"The first game against Washington, my brother was clicking his heels and doing a little chuckling," Chicago's Horace Grant said of his twin, Harvey. "I told him we'd pay him back and we did."
The Bulls tied a record for most field goals in a quarter by a Washington opponent with 19 in the first quarter, when they shot 79 percent. That tied the record set by the Kansas City Kings on Jan. 26, 1979. In the second quarter, Chicago hit 63 percent, for a .721 first-half clip and a 68-46 halftime lead.
Washington shot well, .541 (20 of 37), from the floor in the half but it made no difference.
When Jordan is hitting from the perimeter, no one stops him. That was the case. As soon as a couple of jumpers went in, he got the space needed to drive for baskets.
"He got off early," Walker said of Jordan. "And I was hanging on him. Even he told me, 'Darrell, you're all over me, but I'm hot tonight.' He was hitting fadeaways, everything. You still play him to shoot the jumper, because when he goes to the middle everyone gets in foul trouble, and I do mean everybody."
The Bulls hit 12 of their first 14 shots from the floor. With two minutes left in the first quarter, they were hitting 85 percent. Washington never got closer than nine, as Chicago's reserves, who had been blowing leads of late, more than maintained the advantage.
When King picked up his fourth foul with 8:47 left in the third, he sat for the rest of the period, and the Bullets were done. They made only three field goals the final six minutes of the quarter, by which time Jordan had sat down and the Bulls flirted with 30-point leads.
The rest of the night was only good in that Ellison got an extended look, and was much more fluid on offense.
"That's why I wanted to leave him in there when the game got to a certain point," Unseld said. "I wanted him to run up and down the floor instead of calling timeouts and setting up plays."