Local SportsNationalSportsWilliam J. Ford

Injury-Ravaged Wizards Lose to Bulls, Drop 3rd Straight

With John Wall, Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris out of the lineup, and Dwight Howard still recovering from surgery, the Washington Wizards struggled Friday against the youthful Chicago Bulls, losing 101-92 at home.

Bradley Beal’s 34 points, seven rebounds and five assists weren’t enough to carry the Wizards, which shot just 40 percent from the floor.

“They made a few more shots than us,” said Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. “We could not find a key bucket. Guys played hard. I have no complaints there. We just couldn’t find any shots to fall consistently for us.”

The Wizards (13-23), which rank 10th in the NBA in scoring at nearly 113 points per game, mustered only 42 points at halftime. In comparison, Chicago ranks last with an average of almost 101 points.

With Wall out, Chicago (10-26) blitzed Beal near the top of the key and forced him to give up the ball several times. The Wizards committed 13 turnovers that led to 10 Bulls points.

But both teams had fewer than 10 fast break points the entire game.

Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half. Bulls rookie Wendell Carter Jr. contributed 17 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks.

“I shot three shots [in the first half], but I was just playing in the flow,” LaVine said. “I knew I was going to be more aggressive in the second half. Wendell did great, especially defensively, he was contesting and changing the shot of a lot of layups and stuff like that. I like my rook.”

Chicago forward Lauri Markkanen, starting for the first time since his Dec. 1 return from an elbow injury, scored 14 points and pulled down 14 rebounds in nearly 29 minutes of action.

Brooks and the players wouldn’t use the absence of Wall, Morris and Potter as an excuse for it defeat.

“It’s next man up. That’s why we have 15 guys on the team for situations like this,” Beal said. “Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We’ve just got to man up and do it.”

Porter missed his ninth consecutive game with a right knee contusion, while Morris sat with a sore neck. Howard hasn’t played since undergoing surgery Nov. 30 to repair a gluteal injury.

Brooks revealed before the game that Wall, who didn’t play due to a sore left heel, will “hopefully” see a specialist Saturday. He said Wall has played through nagging bone spurs for the past three years.

The Wizards play a rare home back-to-back against the Charlotte Hornets (17-17).

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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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