In a week full of embarrassing returns to D.C., Otto Porter’s first game back in Washington was no exception.
Though Porter did not actually play, the Chicago Bulls Skeleton Crew beat the Wizards by a score of 115-114. Former G-League standout Walt Lemon was sublime for the Bulls, scoring a game-high 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting and hitting two clutch free throws with 1.8 seconds left to reach the winning margin.
This was just one possession after Chasson Randle hit two free throws to put the Wizards ahead on a play for which Chicago’s Cristiano Felicio forgot he was in the game. No, this was not the most aesthetically pleasing affair.
Still, there were some positives for Washington amid a confusing loss. The Wizards certainly weren’t trying their best, evidenced by Scott Brooks resting Bradley Beal for the entirety of the second and fourth quarters. Beal still took the first quarter to remind everyone just how good he is: the Wizards’ All-Star scored 15 points in the first period on 7-of-11 shooting. Beal would finish with only 19 points due to the rest, but he looked as good as ever in one of the final games of the season.
Thomas Bryant (20 and 12) and Bobby Portis (20 and 10) each had a double-double and a couple of ferocious put-back dunks apiece. It’s no surprise Portis was on point, as he seems thrive on the extra motivation when playing his former team. For Bryant, it was encouraging to see him tack on five assists, mostly due to some pretty passing to open shooters and cutters out of the short roll.
Troy Brown Jr. is certainly the object of most Wizards fans’ scrutiny at this point in the season, but it was a rather nondescript affair for the rookie. The way Brown plays — so concerned with making the right basketball play over “getting his” — makes him more prone to these games where he fades into the background a bit. It’s fine, and he still made time for one of his patented pick sixes.
Primo stuff from the rook. pic.twitter.com/MLgpjWioiX— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) April 3, 2019
In total, the game was among the more entertaining contests you’ll see between two tanking teams. Washington and Chicago went back and forth throughout the entire game: the Wizards won the first quarter by two points, lost the second by one, won the third by three, and lost the fourth by five. The only real negative part of the game was a potential knee injury for Jabari Parker. Parker didn’t seem to be significantly injured, but he did not return to the game — let’s hope it was just a light tweak.
With the loss, the Wizards fall to 32-47 on the season. As of the end of the game, the team now sits tied with Memphis and Dallas for the sixth spot in the lottery drawing, though those two each has five games remaining to the Wizards’ three. With only a week to play, it looks like the final lottery positioning will come right down to the wire.
Otto Porter’s Tribute Video
Brad’s Got Jokes
Next Up: The Wizards (32-47) will host the San Antonio Spurs (45-33) in D.C. this Friday at 7 p.m. Eastern Time.