CHICAGO (AP) — Bradley Beal scored 35 points and the Washington Wizards held on to beat the Chicago Bulls 105-101 on Monday night.
Beal, the NBA’s leading scorer, hit three free throws in the final 9.8 seconds. Rui Hachimura added 19 points and a season-high 10 rebounds on his 23rd birthday.
The Wizards improved to 6-15 even though they rested Russell Westbrook. And they won for the third time in six games, the victories by four points or less. For a team that was hit hard by COVID-19 issues, it’s at least an encouraging sign even if the losses during this stretch were lopsided.
“I’m not usually fired up about 3-3,” coach Scott Brooks said. “But we’ve gone through a lot. And our guys battled back.”
Zach LaVine led Chicago with 35 points, though he missed a potential tying layup in the closing seconds. He also got an All-Star endorsement from Beal, who said LaVine should get picked for the first time “hands down.”
“He’s electric,” Beal said. “He has a great change of pace, can shoot the 3.”
Thaddeus Young scored 14 points, but the Bulls lost for the sixth time in eight games.
“Just a lot of self-inflicted wounds, I thought,” coach Billy Donovan said.
The Wizards led 93-84 about 4 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter before Chicago scored seven straight points, capped by Denzel Valentine’s 3-pointer.
Beal then drove for a layup. Alex Len hit two free throws and scored on a putback dunk to bump Washington’s lead to 99-91. But the Bulls answered with a six-point spurt, pulling within two on LaVine’s two foul shots.
Beal made two of his own and Len added one to make it a five-point game before LaVine sank two more foul shots to pull Chicago to 102-99 with a minute left. Beal lost his dribble, resulting in a turnover, and Coby White hit a floater for the Bulls coming out of a timeout to cut it to one with 29 seconds left.
Beal got fouled on a drive and made the second free throw after missing the first to make it 103-101 with 9.8 seconds to play. Following a timeout, a driving LaVine missed a layup over Len, who joined the Wizards last month after being released by Toronto. Beal grabbed the rebound and hit free throws with 0.1 seconds left.
“I thought I drove and created contact,” LaVine said. “The refs saw it differently. Everybody says put the pressure on the rim at the end of the game, don’t settle. I thought I did that. I thought I created contact. I guess I’ve got to make the layup.”
Wizards: Westbrook was held out because the Wizards were playing for the second time in two days. Brooks hopes to have the nine-time All-Star and 2017 NBA MVP playing on both ends of back-to-backs “down the road.” … Washington shot 6 for 26 on 3-pointers, while the Bulls went 9 of 30.
Bulls: F Lauri Markkanen is out two to four weeks because of a sprained right shoulder. Markkanen was hurt Friday at Orlando when he was fouled by Magic forward Gary Clark early in the third quarter. … F Otto Porter Jr. (back spasms) missed his fourth consecutive game, and Chandler Hutchison (personal reasons) was held out of his second in a row, though he remains with the team. Donovan had no timetable for Hutchison’s return.
Wizards: They host Fred VanVleet and the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.
Bulls: Will host Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday.
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