WASHINGTON – Bulls coach Jim Boylen knows that Zach LaVine can’t play as much he’d like because of a recent ankle injury.
But LaVine made the most of his 29 minutes Friday night, scoring 19 points in the second half, including 11 straight in the third quarter, in the Bulls’ 101-92 victory over the Washington Wizards.
LaVine, who finished with 24 points, shot only three times in the first half and turned aggressive in the second half, hitting three 3-pointers in a 2:45 stretch of the third quarter.
“He didn’t panic, he wasn’t flustered, and the game turned for him,” Boylen said. “He gave it to us the second half.”
Wendell Carter Jr. had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Lauri Markkanen added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who scored 100 points for only the second time in 10 games.
The Bulls have won three of four and are 5-7 since Boylen replaced Fred Hoiberg on Dec. 4.
Bradley Beal led Washington with 34 points.
The Wizards played without John Wall, who was sidelined with a sore left heel. Washington coach Scott Brooks said that he found out during the morning shootaround that Wall would be unable to play, and said he would see a specialist.
The Wizards fell to 13-23. They have dropped nine of 11.
Beal remains convinced that Washington can turn the season around, and he refuses to believe that with the team 10 games below .500, the season is too far gone.
“I’ll never say that,” Beal said. “I’ll never think it. I’ll never believe it. My main objective is to make sure we get out of the hole, and we will.”
LAVINE TURNS IT ON
Not only did LaVine score 11 straight in the third quarter, but he secured the game with 33 seconds left with a three-point play.
“We took the game over,” LaVine said. “We made some big stops. I think the main thing is that we’re learning how to win.”
LaVine, Markkanen and Kris Dunn started together for the first time this season.
“We talked about it, and I feel like we just got to keep working on doing our stuff and we’ll get better,” Markkanen said.
Four of the nine players Brooks used are in their first month with the team. They are forwards Trevor Ariza and Sam Dekker and guards Ron Baker and Chasson Randle.
“You’re going to have some funky lineups,” Brooks said. “There are going to be some strange lineups until some people get back.”