CHICAGO -- Ledell Eackles scored a season-high 32 points last night, but it wasn't enough to save the Washington Bullets from losing, 118-113, to the Chicago Bulls, who got a game-high 40 points from Michael Jordan.
It was the seventh straight win for the Bulls and their club-recor16th straight at home. The victory also improved the Bulls' record to 37-14 and extended their Central Division lead to two games over the idle Detroit Pistons. The Bullets' record fell to 22-31, a half-game out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The Bullets also got 29 points from Bernard King, 14 in the finaquarter, 18 from Harvey Grant before he fouled out with 19.1 seconds left, 18 from A.J. English and 14 from Pervis Ellison.
Small forward Scottie Pippen added 16 points and 13 reboundfor the Bulls, center Bill Cartwright got 12 and reserve guard B.J. Armstrong 11.
Many of the fans in the crowd of 17,894 expected a shootout between Jordan and King, the league's first- and third-leading scorers, King stumbled out of the gate with 2-for-8 shooting in the first quarter. Eackles had to step forward and carry Washington offensively with 16 in the first half, which ended with the Bullets trailing, 52-44.
Eackles added 10 points in the third quarter, when the Bulletrallied opening the period with a 13-2 run to forge a 57-54 lead after King's 10-footer with 2 minutes, 36 seconds gone in the quarter.
The Bulls responded with a 10-2 spurt to grab the lead for keepsbut they could never put the Bullets away. With King leading the way, the Bullets roared back down the stretch outscoring the Bulls, 12-4, after a three-point goal by Armstrong had given the Bulls a 109-99 lead with 3:28 left.
The Bullets trailed, 113-100, with 68 seconds left, but Jordan hitwo free throws, Pippen one free throw and Armstrong two more while the Bullets had to settle for a three-point basket by King with 9.2 seconds left to end the scoring.
"It's tough coming into Chicago," Eackles said. "They have a great team and a lot of great players who are playing well right now."
Said Jordan: "Washington plays very scary. They play very emotional and move our defense around. But, our offense outscored them. It was a great win. This is a time when good teams win and keep winning."
Eackles said: "It's tough coming into Chicago. They have a great team and a lot of great players who are playing well right now."
Both teams were coming off a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls beat them, 110-95, at the Richfield (Ohio) Coliseum on Monday afternoon, a day after the Bullets had defeated them, 108-104, in Baltimore.
The Bullets' half-court motion offense had trouble getting otrack early, primarily because of the defensive blanket the Bulls' Horace Grant draped over King.
King missed his first two perimeter jumpers, but Grant scored from the top of the key and John Paxson capped a fast break with a layup to give the Bulls a 4-0 lead.
Grant, who flashes small-forward quickness, smothered thmobility of King, who scrambled through his pick for screens only to find Grant's hands in his face. As King struggled in that first period, it remained for Eackles to pace the Bullets with six points.
4 The Bullets hurt themselves shooting 36.4 percent.
Jordan also started slowly, shooting 3-for-9 in the first periodalthough he did grab five rebounds. Eackles' defensive coverage contributed to Jordan's slow start.
The Bulls gained their early advantage from the effective low-post play of Cartwright, who got eight points posting up the less-experienced Ellison. Still, the Bullets kept close, forcing two lead changes and five ties before the Bulls streaked, 7-2, and finished the first period with a 25-20 lead.
After the Bulls opened the second period with two free throws bStacey King and a 17-foot jumper by Jordan, the Bullets used a 9-2 run to draw within 31-29 on Harvey Grant's 15-footer with 3:07 gone.
The Bulls responded with a 6-0 run, forcing Bullets coach Wes Unseld to call time. But the Bullets got no closer than six points the rest of the period as Jordan returned to score 10 of Chicago's next 15 points, enabling the Bulls to lead, 52-44, at halftime.
Jordan led all scorers at the half with 21 points and the Bulls hela 28-20 edge in rebounds. Eackles had 16 for the Bullets. English and Harvey Grant had 10 apiece and King just four.
The Bullets opened the third period with their best run. Kinsandwiched a three-point play and a 10-footer around a jumper by Pippen. Even better, King's second basket triggered a 10-0 run, as the Bulls missed five straight shots, to forge the Bullets' 57-54 lead.
A 12-foot jumper by Cartwright started a 10-2 counterattack that reclaimed a 64-59 lead for the Bulls.