Wizards

Wizards fall to 0-4 for 1st time since 2013 after loss to Bulls

Wizards

The Washington Wizards lost to the Chicago Bulls 115-107 on Tuesday night. Here are five takeaways from what went down.

Inexcusable

It was disappointing for the Wizards to begin the season 0-3, though at least those losses came against relatively good teams that were in the playoffs last year. On Tuesday, they took a step backward against a Chicago Bulls team that is at-best mediocre, and may ultimately prove to be among the very worst in the league.

The Wizards didn't play well for the first three quarters this time, either. This was a start-to-finish disaster that saw them be outplayed in just about every area of the game. 

There are some serious problems for the Wizards to sort out and they will have to do it on the fly with a schedule that is about to take an unforgiving turn. Just like last year, they can't defend. The Bulls, for example, made 15 threes and shot 44.1 percent from long range.

And their offense isn't great, either. The Wizards shot 27 percent from three and had 19 turnovers. They lack cohesion offensively despite having the talent to score a lot of points. Maybe treating the preseason more seriously would have helped them to hit the ground running.

Russell Westbrook had another triple-double with 16 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. Bradley Beal had 26 points. But those two also combined for 11 turnovers and set the tone for a generally sloppy game for the Wizards.

Now they sit at 0-4, their worst start since the 2012-13 season. If they don't turn this around quickly, like very quickly, things could get interesting. They have too much talent and too high of expectations for this.

 

Beal was banged up

There was a concerning moment in the third quarter when Beal went down after colliding with Westbrook. Beal was fouled on a shot attempt in the lane, then on his way down banged his head into Westbrook.

Wizards' Bradley Beal collides with Russell Westbrook vs. Bulls

Beal shot the free throws before heading to the locker room with a trainer. He was then put through concussion protocol.

Not long after, Beal came back and returned to the game, so crisis averted. It looked like he got hit in the eye and was able to shake it off. Amazingly, Beal still had 12 points in the third quarter despite his time away.

Free throw disparity

For the second straight game, the Wizards had a disadvantage in free throw attempts. On Sunday against the Magic, they had only 13 free throws compared to 38 for Orlando, who somehow made 37 of them. 

Technically, it was almost even, as the Wizards had 25 attempts compared to the Bulls' 26. But that required some catching up by the referees in the second half. At halftime, the Wizards were 6-of-6 from the line, while the Bulls were 12-of-17.

This is always a tricky subject for head coach Scott Brooks and his players. If they complain too forcefully, they can be subject to fines. But it's also an area of the game that is important and can make the difference in wins and losses. In this case, it helped Chicago build an early lead.

RELATED: Bradley Beal put his sons’ nicknames on the backs of his shoes for warmups

Avdija's defense

The Wizards' defense as a whole remains an issue, but so far the play from rookie Deni Avdija (9 points, 4 assists) on that end of the floor has stood out in a good way. Avdija is only 19, yet he may already be one of the team's best defensive players, at least when it comes to off-ball help defense.

He will need to get more consistent with his on-ball defense, like all rookies, but he's already showing flashes there as well. In this game, he was crossed up by Coby White in the opening minutes, but soon after forced him into a travel at the elbow. 

Avdija was all over him at the perimeter, then backed off as he drove and showed excellent footwork as he backpedaled to stay in front of him. White is a shorter guard and is very quick, so that isn't an easy assignment for Avdija, a 6-foot-9 forward. 

Avdija also drew an offensive foul on White, who tried to fly right into him off the dribble. Avdija stayed vertical with his hands up and got the call. He's really good at contesting without fouling.

Porter got big

Midway through the second quarter, Wizards fans may have done a double-take as Otto Porter Jr. came off the bench to enter the game for the Bulls. He appears to have gained a noticeable amount of weight over the offseason.

 

Now, whether it's fat or muscle; we'll let you speculate that. Let's just appreciate the irony that Porter finally gained some weight after years of needing to while playing in Washington. He was always the skinniest guy on the team and sometimes got pushed by opponents around because of it. 

Porter is carrying the new weight just fine judging by how he played against the Wizards. He had 14 points and made three threes.