SportsWilliam J. Ford

Beal’s 30 Pace Wizards in Win over Bulls

The first two times the Washington Wizards faced the Chicago Bulls this season, they lost both games by nine points.

Their fortunes turned around Tuesday, as seven players scored in double figures to defeat Chicago 126-114 at home, despite Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine lighting them up for 41 points.

Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal led the way with 30 points, seven assists and four rebounds, while rookie Rui Hachimura scored 20 points in his fourth game back after a groin injury.

Starting point guard Ish Smith nearly recorded a double-double, finishing with 10 points and nine assists and no turnovers in 28 minutes of action.

“It was solid. It’s always room for improvement,” Smith said about his floor game. “We got the win. That’s the most important thing. We kept the pace up. Zach went a little crazy toward the end, but we did a great job on both ends.”

Although Chicago (19-36) shot 48 percent from the floor, the team committed 20 turnovers. In comparison, Washington (19-33) shot 54 percent from the floor and committed 17 turnovers.

Both teams pulled down 44 rebounds.

Both also sit outside the playoff picture behind the top eight teams in the Eastern Conference, but Washington remains just three games behind the eighth-place Orlando Magic (23-31).

The Wizards finished its six-game homestand 4-2, but will play once more before All-Star Weekend on the road Wednesday against the New York Knicks.

“We finished this stretch good, but we have one more … and we have to focus on it,” said Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. “We want to be able to say to ourselves that we’re going to be locked in mentally and we’re going to be sharp and focused. The All-Star break is great. I love it. Our players love it, but we got one more game to really focus on.”

After Wednesday, the Wizards won’t play again until Feb. 21 in the District against the conference’s last-place team, Cleveland Cavaliers (13-40).

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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