WASHINGTON (AP)In his first home game since signing a massive contract to stay in Washington, Bradley Beal was patient most of the night.
At the end, however, it was pretty obvious who would have the ball.
”I told myself, I’m going to get a shot, I’m going to make the shot,” Beal said.
Beal’s leaning bank shot with 7.4 seconds remaining gave Washington a 102-100 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night in its first home game since a five-year deal worth up to $251 million kept the star guard with the Wizards.
Washington blew a 17-point third-quarter lead in its home opener, but with the game tied at 100 and the shot clock running down, Beal’s shot off the glass dropped through to give the Wizards the lead. Following a timeout, DeMar DeRozan’s 3-pointer rimmed out for Chicago.
”We stuck with it,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. ”That game could have easily gotten away from us.”
DeRozan had 32 points to lead all scorers, and the Bulls nearly won their second straight game to start the season without Zach LaVine. DeRozan scored 37 in the opener against Miami.
Instead, it was Washington that improved to 2-0. Kyle Kuzma scored 26 points and Beal added 19.
”Don’t get it twisted, I’ll still go off for 30, 40 and 50 if I need to,” Beal said. ”I have teammates who can score the ball and make plays too.”
The Wizards won 10 of their first 13 games last season, but they ended up missing the playoffs after Beal’s season ended early because of wrist issues.
The Bulls are still trying to manage LaVine’s left knee, which needed surgery in May. This was the first game of a back-to-back for Chicago, and the All-Star guard is expected to make his season debut in the back half against Cleveland.
Washington led 56-50 at halftime, and then Kuzma started the third quarter with a couple quick 3s. Beal hustled back to block a layup attempt by Ayo Dosunmu, and that defensive play led to a 3-pointer by Deni Avdija that made it 65-50.
”The thing that was disappointing coming out of the half was we gave up those two 3s, and one of the things that we had talked about is that we’ve got to contest,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said.
Nikola Vucevic scored 24 points for Chicago. Coby White and Andre Drummond had 10 apiece.
Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points for the Wizards and Rui Hachimura scored 12.
MOVING THE BALL
Beal had eight assists, increasing his career total to 2,715. He passed Rod Strickland (2,712) for third in franchise history.
”Just finding guys,” Beal said. ”It’s not all on me to just score, score, score.”
Bulls: In addition to LaVine, Chicago was without Lonzo Ball (left knee). … Chicago went 27 of 33 on free throws while limiting the Wizards to only 11 attempts.
Wizards: Washington was without Corey Kispert (sprained left ankle) and Vernon Carey (concussion). … The Wizards shot 51.3% from the field but had 17 turnovers.
Bulls: Host Cleveland on Saturday night.
Wizards: At Cleveland on Sunday night.
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