After their big performance against Jimmy Butler and Minnesota Timberwolves, you could expect a let down game from the Chicago Bulls. Especially considering they just played the day before and were heading into this matchup without Zach LaVine (rest) and Kris Dunn (concussion). However it wasn’t the lack of energy which was their downfall tonight against the Washington Wizards. It was more about the play of their opponents and Chicago’s turnovers. The Bulls turned it over 16 times and watched as second year man Tomas Satoransky dropped a career high 25 points in a 101-90 victory for Washington.
Unlike in their game against Minnesota, the Bulls didn’t have the same success in the opening frame tonight. This was expected given this was the second game of a back to back along with the absence of Zach LaVine. The Wizards came out of the gate hot, quickly opening up a 9-2 lead. Washington was on fire from three-point land in the first half, knocking down 6 of them. Half of those makes came from forward Tomas Satoransky who had a solid opening quarter, scoring 11 points. He was by far the best Wizards starter in the first quarter. He took full advantage of his matchup against Denzel Valentine and made the Bulls pay when they left him open.
For Chicago, other than Jerian Grant all of the starters looked out of it offensively. It wasn’t until David Nwaba and Bobby Portis were interested that things began to pick up. Both came in with much needed energy and seemed to spark some life into the Bulls. We even saw Nwaba attempt a three in the first quarter. Behind the trio of Nwaba, Portis, and Grant, Chicago at least kept the game at a decent margin and didn’t let the Wizards pull away. It was only 30-22 in what was an ok first quarter.
To begin the second quarter, Fred Hoiberg ran out his all-bench lineup and to my surprise, they were able to hold their own. Like in the first quarter, they were able to keep the deficit to a reasonable level. Even Paul Zipser had an ok run in the second quarter, hitting a three and having a solid block on Bradley Beal. Chicago started 7 of 12 from the field and was able to cut the lead to 3, 43-40, thanks to a Valentine three with around 5 minutes left in the half. Sensing the lead slipping away, Scott Brooks inserted his starters back in and the momentum again shifted back to the Wizards. Satoransky came in and scored four quick points, capped off by a nice slam. Washington’s offense really ended on a high note and it showed on the scoreline. They finished the half shooting 51.2% from the field and helped them to a double digit lead as the two teams headed back to the locker room with the score 56-46.
Satoransky, who was starting for the injured John Wall, had an amazing first half by scoring 15 points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field. Big man Mike Scott also chipped in 8 points off the bench while Kelly Oubre Jr. had a solid first half tally of 9 points and 5 rebounds.
As for the Bulls, nobody scored over double digits in the first half as they shot average from the field with a percentage of 41.7 (17 of 41). Portis led the way with 9 points and 3 rebounds. Valentine and Grant chipped in with 8 points with the former adding in 5 rebounds. Nwaba also had 7 points as well.
The third quarter was a dysfunctional one was both teams struggled to keep a hold of the ball. Washington was still able to maintain their lead cause as bad they were in the 3rd, Chicago was just as bad. One of the mere positives in the quarter was Lauri Markkanen who began to hit some shots after a slow start to the game. After an uneventful first half for the rookie, he was near a double double (9 points 8 rebounds) at the end of the third. Meanwhile for Washington, Satoransky continued to ball out. Otto Porter Jr. had a good quarter as well.
There were some mini fireworks as Mike Scott and Robin Lopez got into a mini altercation. It came after Scott scored an layup plus getting fouled by Nwaba. As Scott was going to give Marcin Gortat a high five, his left arm got tangled up with Nwaba’s and pushed it aside. Lopez took exception to that and let Scott know, causing all the starters on the court to basically huddle up. Both Lopez and Scott were dished out double technicals for their troubles. It was a nine point lead for the Wizards right before an open three by Jodie Meeks gave Washington a double digit lead heading into the 4th. At the end of three it was 82-70 Wizards.
Despite being down by double digits at the start of the 4th, the Bulls kept battling. They were able to get it to 10 thanks to a 3-point play by David Nwaba. However, every time the Bulls stepped up so did the Wizards. Even with Bradley Beal struggling throughout the game, he was picked up by his teammates. Things got a bit interesting with less than 5 minutes left when Grant hit a three to cut the lead to 97-87 and kept hope alive for Chicago. Justin Holiday then splashed a three with 4:12 left which was quickly followed by a Washington timeout. The back to back three’s could not have come at a better time for Chicago as they were staring at a blowout loss in the final minutes. But as soon as things began to pick up, it was that man again Satoransky who hit a clutch 3 to give Washington a 100-90 lead with 3:12 left.
A scary moment occurred in the game when Satoransky fell hard on his head and had to receive medical attention. He got the ball on the left side baseline and went strong to the basket. Portis tried to stop him and ended up fouling him while he was in mid-air and fell hard on the floor. He immediately went to the locker room. Portis was given a flagrant 2 and promptly ejected. It was a reckless play by Portis and it was 100% a flagrant foul.
From then on it was a breeze for the Wizards as they ran the clock down and beat the Bulls 101-90.
Bobby Portis was ejected after this flagrant foul on Tomas Satoransky pic.twitter.com/tzmrTO8h27— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 11, 2018
It was a career night for Satoransky, though sadly it was cut short. He scored 25 points, was efficient from the (10 of 12), and played well in his 37 minute stint. Porter Jr. and Scott added 14 points.
The Bulls had more of a distributed effort when it came to scoring the ball. All five starters scored in double digits but Justin Holiday leading the way with only 15 points. Portis dropped 13 points while Markkanen, Lopez, and Nwaba all scored 12 each.
Chicago falls to 19-36 on the season and will face the Magic next.