April 1, 2018 / 10:10 PM / 4 months ago

Markkanen helps Bulls cruise past Wizards

Lauri Markkanen scored 23 points, and the Chicago Bulls won their second game in row with a 113-94 victory over the playoff-bound Washington Wizards, who were without John Wall on Sunday at United Center.

Wall returned from a two-month absence Saturday and helped the Wizards clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Charlotte Hornets. Washington’s All-Star guard missed 27 games recovering from a knee injury. He had 15 points and 14 assists against the Hornets, but was given Sunday off against the Bulls and the Wizards struggled on without him.

Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg missed the contest with an illness. Lead assistant Jim Boylen served as coach.

The Bulls led for almost the entire first half, behind hot starts from Bobby Portis and Markkanen. Portis hit a 3-pointer that put Chicago up 15 late in the first quarter. Markkanen scored 15 points in the first half, including a four-point play right before halftime that helped the Bulls take a 68-59 lead into intermission.

Portis finished with 18 points, and Sean Kilpatrick added 14 points for the Bulls, who opened a three-game homestand with their first win at home since March 7.

Otto Porter Jr. had 17 points, and Bradley Beal added 15 points for the Wizards, who never made a serious run in the second half as Chicago pulled away. A bucket by Kilpatrick extended the Bulls’ lead to 97-80 early in the fourth quarter.

Markkanen, a first-round pick by Minnesota last year who came to Chicago as part of the trade for Jimmy Butler, is having a promising finish to his rookie season. He connected on 7 of 11 shots, including five 3-pointers, and scored more than 20 points for the second time in his last three games

The Wizards are headed to postseason for the fourth time in the last five seasons and entered Sunday in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. With five games remaining, their seeding is very much up for grabs, with seventh-place Milwaukee and eighth-place Miami on their heels.

—Field Level Media

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