The Bulls closed 2017 with a valiant effort and an unlikely a finish as their recent wining streak in a 114-110 loss to the Washington Wizards.
With 19 seconds left and Washington taking a 112-110 lead on a John Wall three-point play after the Bulls led almost the entire game, the Bulls fouled the hot shooting Bradley Beal, who set a career high with seven three pointers. He then missed both free throws, the Wizards getting possession of the second after a wild scramble. Wall was fouled and made both free throws for the eventual margin. There also was a big possession earlier when the Wizards got two tips for offensive rebounds and then a Beal three to tie at 104.
The Bulls were led by Nikola Mirotic with 21 points and Kris Dunn with 19 points and 11 assists.
Robin Lopez had 16. Lauri Markkanen, Justin Holiday and David Nwaba had 11 each and Bobby Portis 10.
Beal had 39 points for the Wizards.
The Bulls are 13-23. The Wizards are 21-16.
After missing one game with knee tendinitis, Dunn was back in the starting lineup. He said it was a minor condition he’d had previously in high school. And he showed quickly there was little effect with a spectacular finish, splitting a double team for a double pump slam dunk as the Bulls ram ahead 18-11 midday through the first quarter. Dunn had eight first quarter points and four assists Then Hioliday closed the first quarter with a three after a three quarter court pass from Mirotic with 3.4 seconds left for a 38-30 Bulls lead after one quarter. Holiday had nine points and all nine Bulls who played in the quarter scored. The Bulls jumped out to start the second quarter with a David Nwaba three-point play and Portis full court drive for a score and 46-35 lead. The Wizards shot their way back with threes, getting within 56-53 with three minutes left in the first half on eight of 15 threes. The Bulls were three of 17 on threes in the same stretch.
Just when the Wizards drew close, it was Lopez giving the Bulls some scoring space to open the second half with a three-point play dunk to start on a Dunn assist and three short jumpers. That enabled the Bulls to go back ahead 83-74 with back to back Dunn and Mirotic threes. But Washington matched that with John Wall and Bradley Beal threes in the swiftly played game. Mirotic then answered with a three after a Kelly Oubre three when the Wizards pulled close, the second Mirotic three of the quarter to counter a Wizards three. The Bulls led 89-83 entering the fourth quarter. But the Wizards kept coming after the Bulls opened with a Portis rebound score as Washington took its first lead since early in the game at 94-93 with 8:23 left. The Bulls responded with a Mirotic postup score, but Dunn drew a fifth foul and went out with 6:22 left after four straight Dunn points. With 3:54 left, Wall got tangled with Nwaba and the score tied on a Wizards fast break. Then it was Mirotic and Nwaba with free throws before a Dunn pullup jumper with 54 seeds left for a 110-107 Bulls lead.