Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards
WASHINGTON, DC -  DECEMBER 31: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards shoots the ball during the game against the Chicago Bulls on December 31, 2020 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC.
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Recap: Beal, Bryant combine for 56, Wizards lose to Bulls, 133-130

FINAL: Wizards 130 | Bulls 133

BOX SCORE | HIGHLIGHTS

SCORING LEADERS

Wizards: Thomas Bryant (28), Bradley Beal (28), Russell Westbrook (22)

Bulls: Otto Porter Jr. (28), Zach LaVine (22), Wendell Carter Jr. (16), Coby White (16)

SUMMARY

The Wizards were defeated by the Bulls 133-130 on Thursday night at Capital One Arena in the second of two consecutive matchups between the two teams. Thomas Bryant and Bradley Beal each scored 28 to lead the team while Russell Westbrook recorded his fourth straight triple-double (22 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists). Westbrook now has 150 career triple-doubles, the second-most in NBA history.

Rui Hachimura, making his season debut after missing the first four games with conjunctivitis, got the scoring started for the Wizards, hitting a 3-pointer on the team’s first possession. The Wizards started hot, shooting 13-19 (.684) from the field and 6-8 (.750) from three, on their way to 41 first quarter points. Hachimura and Beal combined for 22 points in the opening frame. While the Wizards went cold from 3-point range in the second quarter, Bryant took over inside the arc to keep the Wizards’ offense afloat. Bryant scored 16 points on 6-6 (1.000) shooting in the second quarter. Despite leading by as many as seven in the second quarter, the Wizards trailed at halftime after the Bulls shot 4-5 (.800) from 3-point range in the final three minutes of the first half.

While Washington’s offense kept humming in the second half, the defense struggled to slow down the Bulls. Chicago shot 15-24 (.625) from the field in the third quarter, scoring 36 points and grabbing their first double-digit lead of the game. Down seven to start the fourth, the Wizards slowly chipped away until just over five minutes to go in the game. A Bryant block of Zach LaVine started a fast break for the Wizards, ending in a Raul Neto 3-pointer to give Washington a one-point lead. Neto finished with 15 points off the bench, shooting 5-7 (.714) from the field and 3-3 (1.000) from 3-point range. Chicago and Washington traded one-point leads in the final two minutes of the game before a pair of Otto Porter Jr. free throws gave the Bulls a three-point lead. After a Wizards miss, Westbrook secured an offensive rebound and hit a pair of free throws, bringing the Wizards back within one. Chicago knocked down two free throws and won by three after the Wizards were not able to convert on a long inbounds pass and shot attempt in the final seconds.

THREE THINGS TO KNOW

Rui’s return

The Wizards were without Hachimura for the first four games of the season, an absence that impacted the Wizards’ rotation across multiple positions. Hachimura, coming off an All-Rookie season in 2019-20, is one of the most versatile players on the Wizards roster – and proved it in his limited action on Thursday.

After knocking down a 3-pointer on the Wizards’ opening possession, Hachimura proceeded to score 10 of the team’s first 20 points as they jumped out to an early lead. Hachimura played 25 minutes, slightly more than the 20 Brooks predicted after practice on Wednesday. The sophomore was aggressive, getting to the line eight times – and recorded three assists, including a nifty behind-the-back look to Thomas Bryant for a baseline dunk.

“Rui was great,” Brooks said. “I kind of thought he would have this type of game. He’s a freak athlete. He came in, he conditioned himself while he was out. He got a lot of great work in the last four or five days. I thought he was terrific on both ends.”

Bryant scores game-high 28 points

Bryant played his best game of the season, scoring a season-high 28 points on 10-11 (.909) from the field and a perfect 3-3 from deep. The big man has scored in double figures in all fives games this season and has shot over 50.0% from the field in each of the last four games. He also recorded a trio of blocks, including one in crunch time of the fourth quarter that set up a lead-taking three. Bryant has tallied five blocks in the last two games and at least one block in four of five games this season.

Westbrook hits another triple-double milestone

With his 22-point, 10-rebound, 11-assist performance – the 150th triple-double of his career – Westbrook recorded the 12th four-game triple-double streak in NBA history and the first in a player’s first four games with a new team. Of those 12 occurrences, Westbrook has accounted for eight. He is only the second player in league history to record four straight triple-doubles to start a season, joining Oscar Robertson. No player in league history has ever started a season with five consecutive triple-doubles. From a Wizards perspective, Westbrook has already moved into a three-way tie for sixth place for career triple-doubles in franchise history, tying Gilbert Arena and Rod Strickland.

NEXT UP: Wizards at Timberwolves / Friday, January 1 / 8:00 P.M. / Target Center

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