Washington Wizards v Chicago Bulls
CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 23: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards shoots the ball against the Chicago Bulls on February 23, 2020 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Wizards lose to Bulls 126-117 despite Beal's career-high 53 points

The Wizards (20-35) were defeated 126-117 by the Bulls (20-38) Sunday night at the United Center despite a career-high 53 points from Bradley Beal. With 10:02 left in the fourth quarter, Beal hit a pair of free throws to move in to second place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list, passing Jeff Malone. Beal scored 21 of his 53 points in the fourth quarter as the Wizards attempted to mount a comeback.

Only James Harden, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving have scored more points in a game this season than Beal’s 53. The performance was his eighth this season with 40 points or more, the most he has recorded in a season in his career.

Beal, however, was not satisfied.

“I can be better on the defensive end, and all around, we can be better,” Beal said. “Coach [Scott Brooks] is absolutely right. The last two games, we didn't show any resistance on the defensive end – none of us. It's coming down to how bad we really want to make this push. We have to look at ourselves individually, starting with myself and everyone else following suit, but we got to be able to come off a break and win games.”

Washington struggled to get going in the first half. Beal scored eight points in the first 4:10 of the game to help the Wizards jump out to a seven-point lead, but the game swung when the teams went to their second units. Late in the first quarter, Chicago went on an 11-2 run to capture the lead. Excluding Washington’s quick start, the Bulls owned the first half, shooting 56.5% from the field and 54.5% from 3-point range. The Wizards committed 13 turnovers, were outrebounded 21-17 and trailed 73-58 at halftime.

Chicago’s lead ballooned to 25 as the team opened the second half of a 10-0 run, but this time, Washington had an answer. Over the next 4:07, the Wizards hit five 3-pointers, including three from Davis Bertans – part of a 23-7 run to cut the lead to nine points.

Bertans finished the game with 22 points on 5-11 (.454) from 3-point range. Bertans now has 13 games this season with 20-plus points and 12 games with five 3-pointers made off the bench. No other bench player has more than nine such games.

With the Wizards down nine with just under seven minutes to go, Bead picked up his fifth foul. He remained in the game and stayed aggressive, scoring 12 points in the next five minutes to keep the Wizards within reach. With just over four minutes to go in the game, Chicago’s Zach LaVine scored on dunks on consecutive possessions to rebuild the Bulls’ lead to 12 – a deficit the Wizards were not able to overcome.

The Bulls were led by 33 points off the bench from rookie Coby White to go along with 32 with from LaVine.

The Wizards return to action Monday, hosting the Bucks (48-8) at 7:00 P.M. at Capital One Arena in one of three remaining matchups between the two teams.

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