The Washington Wizards started a home back-to-back off with a 101-92 loss to the visiting Chicago Bulls. It was just Zach LaVine’s second game back after returning from an ankle injury. On a minutes restriction, he led his team with 24 points. Bradley Beal led all scorers with 34 points, but he didn’t get enough help as Washington struggled to put the ball in the basket. Chicago got big games from their starting front court pairing of Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. Lauri had 14 points and 14 rebounds on anight he didn’t shoot particularly well from the floor. Carter had 17 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.
After a rather dismal first half, both LaVine and Beal heated up in the second half. Zach scored 19 in the second half, including 11 in the third quarter. Beal had 12 at the half and met LaVine’s level of play, scoring 13 points in the period as well.
The difference being that LaVine got more help, or at least had several other threats to contain on the offensive end. It was the first time all season that Markkanen and Kris Dunn were in the starting lineup together for Chicago. The Wizards couldn’t load up on LaVine the same way the Bulls were able to load up on Beal.
Markkanen, Carter and Dunn were productive enough that Zach was able to go to work through isolation most often than not.
Others. With Wall and Porter out, much of the onus to score the basketball has fallen on the shoulders of Bradley Beal. Opposing teams know this and do what they should, they attack him to get the ball out of his hands and force others to score. Washington missed a lot of shots, but the only player that seemed to actively hunt for their shot was Beal. Passing up an opportunity to attack only makes it more difficult for Beal to operate. Far too many times Brad had to not only beat the opposing defenders, but one of his teammates were in the driving lane as well. Someone else has to be actively looking to score the basketball, not just find Beal.
Carter Jr. The youngster showed off against Washington. He can score on all three levels of the floor and is a presence defensively. Several times he came out of nowhere to erase a shot, making up for one of his teammates that got beat.He scored 11 points in the first period, showing off his footwork in the post, keeping his team afloat until others got going.
Second half. The game was just that simple, despite Beal heating up, the Bulls won the third and fourth quarters. Outscoring Washington 60-50. They held the Wizards to just 36% shooting from the floor in the fourth quarter, including just 12% from beyond the arc. Washington also turned the ball over four times. The Bulls were even more blatant about their double teams sent to Beal, sending them from all over the floor. Playing a part in his 4-of-10 shooting in the period, the problem being that Beal still accounted for nine of the 20 points scored in the quarter.