This time the Wizards had John Wall and Bradley Beal for their game at the Chicago Bulls, and while it didn’t seem to matter much early they woke up after a terrible first quarter to pull out a 107-97 win on Wednesday at United Center.
John Wall (23 points, nine assists, six rebounds, three steals) led the way as the Wizards (13-15) drew even in the season series 1-1.
Bradley Beal (21 points, five assists) contributed as well as Marcin Gortat (14 points, 11 rebounds) for the starters. Markieff Morris (eight points, 11 rebounds) helped close what had been a wide rebounding gap after the first quarter.
The bench combined to score 32 points, led by Marcus Thornton (10 points), Sheldon McClellan (seven), Trey Burke (six) and Jason Smith (six). The Wizards have won six of their last eight games and have a chance for a winning road trip if they can beat the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday.
Chicago (14-14) led most of the first half. They jumped out to a 33-22 lead after the first quarter when it made 15 of 24 shots (62.5%).
Jimmy Butler (20 points, 11 rebounds, five assists) led the Bulls along with Taj Gibson (17 points, 11 rebounds), Dwyane Wade (19 points) and Doug McDermott (10 points).
--The bench, which has been under fire all season, came through again for the Wizards. Thornton hit a difficult corner jumper with the shot clock winding down, Burke finished drives to the basket vs. Gibson and Jerian Grant as the Wizards put together a 6-0 run for a 91-85 lead with 7:16 left.
--The Wizards only had six transition points in the 106-95 loss to Chicago last month. With Wall, who revived a struggling offense by injecting pace into the game, they had a 32-16 edge on the fast break.
--Otto Porter (eight points) only played 12 minutes and couldn’t play in the second half because of back spasms. He was replaced by McClellan, who’d recently returned from a D-League stint.
-- McClellan played 19 minutes and played his most time on the court since Nov. 16 when he was on the court for 21 minutes in a loss at the Sixers. He hadn’t played in the Wizards’ last 11 games.
-- Morris hadn't been a factor since his 23 points and nine rebounds in the upset of the Clippers over the weekend. He was 2-for-9 in the loss to Indiana on Monday and picked up his third foul on a cheap reach-in in the last minute of the first half in this one. But he asserted himself late with a strong move and finish over Nikola Mirotic and the help of Gibson. Then Morris had the ball in transition and gave it up to Beal on a nice look that drew a foul for two made free throws. The Wizards took at 95-87 lead which was their largest at that time.
-- Rajon Rondo hasn’t fared well for Chicago in this matchup. Their starting point guard 0-for-6 when Wall didn’t play in the first meeting and failed to score. He had 10 assists but only had three points on 1-for-10 shooting tonight.
-- The Wizards only had 10 turnovers, five fewer than the Bulls who allowed nine more points off of theirs (19).
-- Wall picked up his eighth technical foul of the season, putting him halfway to the threshold of a one-game suspension. Upset that he was assessed a blocking foul on Gibson that he thought should've been a charge, Wall jumped up and complained at 2:47 of the second quarter. Wall is now tied with DeMarcus Cousins, his teammmate at Kentucky, of the Sacramento Kings for most technicals in the league. Each technical Wall gets is $3,000 until he reaches 11. Then it increases to $4,000 each. So far, Wall has shelled out $19,000 in fines for the technicals. If he reaches 16, he'll be hit with an automatic one-game suspension by the league office.