Bulls still beat winless Wizards despite losing 4 players to health and safety protocol

Ryan Young
·3 min read

The Chicago Bulls were extremely short-handed for their matchup with the Washington Wizards on Thursday night, and may be that way for the near future.

The loss of four guys, however, didn’t seem to matter.

The Bulls, without star Lauri Markkanen and three others, still beat the Wizards 133-130 at Capital One Arena — which marked their second straight win after starting out the year 0-3.

Bulls lose 4 players to health and safety protocol

Markkanen, Chandler Hutchinson, Ryan Arcidiacono and Thomas Satoransky were all ruled out for Thursday’s contest due to the NBA’s health and safety protocol.

The “health and safety protocol” designation is used for players throughout the league who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or have come into contact with someone who has, as determined through contact tracing.

“You’ve got to stay flexible,” Bulls coach Billy Donovan said before the game, via the Chicago Tribune. “Different things can happen, and you’ve got to be able to handle them. Obviously, [this is] a lot for us to digest and deal with going into this game with the number of people who are out, but we’ve got to find ways to, throughout the course of the game, maximize and utilize the players that we have available.”

It’s unclear how long those four players will be sidelined. The Bulls are set to take on the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, and then will host the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday. The four players will not make the trek to Milwaukee.

“My guess is, yes, it’s going to go on here for a period of time,” Donovan said, via the Chicago Tribune. “How long? I’m really unsure of that. The daily testing helps bring some clarity to where guys are at. I don’t know how long it would be, but I do anticipate it being some time.”

Bulls still top winless Wizards

Chicago — behind a 28-point double-double from Otto Porter Jr. — still found a way to hold on and hand the Wizards their fifth straight loss this season. The Bulls, after grabbing a slight seven-point lead at the end of the third quarter, held the Wizards to just a single made field goal in the final four minutes of the game to secure the three-point win.

Porter Jr. went 10-of-14 from the field and 5-of-9 from behind the arc while grabbing 12 rebounds in the win. Zach LaVine added 22 points, and both Coby White and Wendell Carter Jr. finished with 16. Seven different players finished in double figures, too.

Russell Westbrook led the Wizards with a triple-double, finishing with 22 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Thomas Bryant dropped 28 points for Washington, which also fell to Chicago 115-107 on Tuesday. The Wizards have now started 0-5 six different times since the 2012-13 season.

“I’m still confident in our group,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said, via The Athletic’s Fred Katz. “We’ve got a lot of season left.”

Bradley Beal, somehow, loses ball on wild layup miss

Beal had a shot to put the Wizards up with less than 15 seconds to go in the game, but completely blew a layup.

Somehow, Beal just lost control of the ball at the rim.

On first glance, it looks as if the ball was hit out of his hands. But the replay showed that Beal simply just dropped it.

Beal still had a solid night. He finished with a team-high 28 points while shooting 8-of-19 from the field. Though that bucket wouldn’t have won the game on its own, it definitely would have put the Wizards in a much better position to get their first win of the year.

Head coach Billy Donovan of the Chicago Bulls
The Bulls were down four players on Thursday due to the NBA's health and safety protocol. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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