Washington Really Misses Beal and Drops Their Fourth Straight
Washington’s 32-point third quarter was their strongest in their second-half push in Chicago last night. The Wizards, who are missing Bradley Beal with a hamstring injury, for the time being, fell just short, dropping their fourth straight game. Washington was also a team that went 0-3 against the Bulls last season, so coach Unseld Jr. and the Wizards have had lasting struggles with Chicago.
A slower, more careless first half held the Wizards back from running away with the game. They turned the ball over 11 times in that first half (they would end the night with 18 turnovers). It was careless from the starters, led by Porzingis with 5 turnovers and Kuzma and Morris with 3 each. It is a lagging problem in Washington on the court that has hurt the Wizards, in which all 14 of their losses have been within 10 points or less.
Now despite a heavy dose of turnovers for Porzingis, he still had a satisfactory night. He finishes with a team-high 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Kristaps was anything but efficient from the field though, shooting under 50% from the field and missing all 6 of his 3-point attempts.
On the other hand, Kyle Kuzma finally had himself a successful night from beyond the arc, shooting 40% from deep in his route to a 21-point night. Kuzma was not efficient on the defensive side, but neither were the rest of the Wizards’ starters, all of which finished with a negative plus/minus.
Former Chicago Bull second-round pick in 2019, Daniel Gafford, returned to the United Center last night. Coming off the bench, Gafford put together a solid game against his former team. He scored 10 points, shooting 4-4 from the field, along with blocking 2 shots and recording 1 steal.
For the Bulls, 3 of their 5 starters, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Zach LaVine, all finished with 20+ points. DeRozan, who averaged 25 points in the Bulls’ 3 games against the Wizards last season, amassed 27 points in the win. Vucevic and LaVine were not far behind with 25 each. LaVine and Vucevic were lights out from beyond the arc, each shooting over 50% from downtown. Vucevic was also a force in the paint, hauling in 11 rebounds.
Washington has to put the loss behind them and focus on the next game, which is against a very good Pacers team. That game will be Friday at 7 pm EST in Indianapolis.