WASHINGTON (AP) — Just when it looked as if Washington’s defense was going the cost the team a victory, the Wizards found a way to hold on.
Bradley Beal scored 30 points, and Washington held off Zach LaVine and the Chicago Bulls for a 126-114 win on Tuesday night.
LaVine scored 19 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Bulls whittle an 18-point deficit down to six points. His 3 made it 114-108 with 1:54 left, but the Wizards responded with six straight points.
“I thought we kept the pace up,” said Wizards point guard Ish Smith, who had nine assists and no turnovers. “Defensively, we did a great job. Zach went a little crazy towards the end, but we did a great job on both ends.”
Rui Hachimura added 20 points for Washington, which won for the fourth time in six games. Shabazz Napier and Ian Mahinmi had 15 apiece.
LaVine shot 15 of 21 from the field, including 8 for 11 from 3-point range. He is slated to compete in the 3-point contest during the All-Star festivities in Chicago this weekend.
“LaVine makes big shots,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “He made shots that were contested. We try to take it out of his hands (but) he was still able to shoot between the two defenders — but that’s what he does.”
Tomas Satoransky added 19 points for Chicago, which enters the break on a six-game losing streak. The Bulls had won four straight versus Washington.
“I thought it took us too long to get our defensive legs underneath us,” coach Jim Boylen said.
The Wizards led by seven at halftime and Beal’s 3-pointer capped a quick 9-2 burst to open the third quarter.
Four straight points by Mahinmi finished a 10-0 run that gave Washington its biggest lead at 94-73 with 4:17 left in the third.
“We just gave them everything that they wanted in the third quarter,” LaVine said. “In transition they exploited our defense, played it well, and they got second chance points, too. You can’t keep up with that.”
Chicago rallied to start the fourth, and LaVine’s five straight points capped a 13-3 run that made it 103-95 with 6:48 remaining.
GOING FOR DISTANCE
A two-time winner of the slam dunk competition, LaVine said he’ll be competitive in the 3-point contest.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “If people think I’m just a high flyer still, I think they are just a casual NBA fan who checks their phone type stuff. I’m not doing it for them. I really ain’t doing it for them. I’m doing it for something I haven’t done before. I think it’s going to be fun. I think I have a chance to win.”
BRYANT BACK AFTER BREAK
Brooks said center Thomas Bryant won’t return until after the All-Star break. Bryant has missed three straight games with a sore right foot.
The 6-foot-10 Bryant was re-evaluated Monday. Brooks said the results were great, but Bryant, who is averaging 12.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, will miss Wednesday’s game against the Knicks.
“He’s going to have the All-Star break and hopefully if things continue to progress in the direction they have, he will be back our next game,” he said.
Bulls: Had won three straight at Capital One Arena. … It was LaVine’s 17th 30-plus point game of the season. … LaVine (168) passed Justin Holiday (161 in 2017-18), Jamal Crawford (165 in 2003-04) and Ben Gordon (166, 2005-06) and is now in second place for most 3-pointers in a season by a Bull.
Wizards: Went 4-2 on their longest homestand of the season. … Beal set a career high with his 11th straight game with 25 or more points.
Bulls: Host Cleveland on Feb. 20.
Wizards: At New York on Wednesday night.
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