SportsWilliam J. Ford

Wizards Falter Late, Lose to Bulls in OT

After taking an 18-point lead at home Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls with less than nine minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Washington Wizards were seemingly on their way to their ninth win of the season.

However, several players said they eased up and the Bulls raced to a 23-5 run in the last 8:21 of regulation to force overtime and defeat Washington 110-109.

Washington, which ranks among the top 10 in offensive efficiency, scored only 13 points in the fourth quarter and six turnovers.

The Wizards (8-18) led 98-96 with 0.5 seconds left in the game. The Bulls tossed the ball in play, but an official called a foul against Wizards forward Isaac Bonga on Bulls center Wendell Carter Jr. He made both free throws to send the game into overtime.

“They called it. A lot of times you let that go with .5 [seconds] on the clock,” said Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. “I’ve seen it many times when that happens, but it wasn’t the case tonight.”

Chicago (11-19) received an offensive boost from Lauri Markkanen, who led all scorers with 31 points. Bulls guard Zach Lavine chipped in 24 points and went a perfect 11-for 11 from the free-throw line.

Former Wizard Tomas Satoransky, who received a video tribute in the first quarter, scored six of his 17 points in overtime.

Wizards forward Davis Bertans led the team with 26 points, but scored only five in the second half.

Bradley Beal scored 22 points on 4-of-19 shooting. However, he shot 13-for-14 from the free-throw line.

“We just got lackadaisical down the stretch,” Beal said. “We’re showing signs that we’re doing the right thing on the defensive end, but moments like tonight is where we have to do better. We got to close out those games.”

Last-second execution hurt Washington, which was called for two fouls in the final 5.5 seconds of the fourth quarter.

Ish Smith, one of the few veterans on the Wizards squad, said the team played with pace the first three quarters, shared the basketball and played defense forcing Chicago to shoot only 40 percent from the floor.

However, Washington shot only 36 percent, with 45 of the team’s 95 shot attempts coming from behind the 3-point line. The team ranks 12th in the NBA at nearly 35 3-point attempts per game.

“We got to get that balance. Once we get that balance, we’re going to be a really good team,” Smith said. “You got to keep playing with pace. We were kind of playing up against the shot clock down the stretch. It’s a learning experience.”

Washington, which has now lost five of its past six games, begins a four-game road trip Friday in Canada against the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors (19-8).

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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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