Thursday, January 21

Bulls seek back-to-back wins against winless Wizards


Stamina and poise helped the Chicago Bulls avoid the franchise’s first 0-4 start since 2007-08 with Tuesday’s 115-107 road win against the Washington Wizards.

As the same two teams prepare to meet again in the nation’s capital on Thursday, the winless Wizards will try to channel some of the Bulls vibe.

” The only way we can get out of this as a team is if we stick together,” Washington forward Davis Bert ans said. “Being negative about the four losses is not going to help us come back and win games.”

While Washington received the usual heroics from new acquisition Russell Westbrook, who posted his third triple-double in as many appearances, defensive lapses and long-range fights finally added up.

Chicago took advantage of Washington’s 1-for-11 effort from 3-point range in the second quarter to take the lead, and the Bulls maintained control as the Wizards continued to miss from deep, finishing 10 of 37 (27.0 percent).

The sharp movement of the ball brought the Bulls to an accuracy of 41.7 percent (15 of 36) from behind the arc. All but one of Chicago’s seven double-digit scorers drilled at least two 3s.

After entering Tuesday with an NBA-highest 19.7 turnovers per game, the Bulls committed just 14 against the Wizards, benefiting from the diversity of new coach Billy Donovan’s offensive scheme.

” I think I’ve always liked the offense that allows you to cut, run and move the ball,” Chicago guard Tomas Satoransky said. ” We play through our big men a lot when we have to examine each other. I think that keeps the offense from stagnating. We always try to move from one side to the other. I think that gives us better options.”

Facing Wizards standout Bradley Beal, who navigated possible concussion concerns to finish with 29 points, Zach LaVine led Chicago with 23 points and added six assists, five rebounds and four steals.

Coby White, who dueled with veteran Westbrook, had 18 points, six assists and five rebounds with just two turnovers.

” Usually young teams need some time, especially with a short preseason, to get into an offense more comfortably,” Satoransky said. “But I think we showed it (Tuesday). We were aggressive.”

Lauri Marianne came close to making eight Bulls in double figures, but aggravated a contusion to his left calf early in the third quarter and left with nine points. His status on Thursday is uncertain.

Thaddeus Young was eligible to play after missing the first three games with an infection in his lower left leg, but he remained on the bench.

Bert ans scored 20 points to give the Wizards another option beyond their star front court, but Beal and Westbrook may have to do even more to lead the team to the victory column. Washington is off to its worst start since the 2012-13 team lost its first 12 games of the season.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks hopes the intangibles Westbrook provides, including mentoring young players, will increase his impact on the statistics.

” We haven’t won a game,” Brooks said. “But he’s teaching these young players how important our job is, and that’s priceless.”

–Field level media



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