“You have to go from there” – The Athletic

WASHINGTON – This loss hurt.

As Bradley Beal walked out of the locker room on Saturday night, he peeked into Wes Unseld Jr.’s office and felt utter disappointment. The Washington Wizards had done so much good despite so many obstacles, only to be heartbroken by DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls who sank a 3-point winner over a pair of defensemen at the end of the time limit.

“We played really hard,” said Beal. “Certainly there are no moral victories at all. But we played hard. We competed. Damn DeMar, man. He had a hard time at the end.

But while the Wizards lost the game, 120-119, they weren’t necessarily defeated. This distinction must be made, subtle as it may sound. The word “defeat” implies a certain degree of finality. Instead, if the Wizards learn the right lessons, what happened inside Capital One Arena on New Years Day could be the start of something positive and lasting.

The Wizards entered the weekend with a decimated roster, with seven players and two assistant coaches sidelined by NBA health and safety protocols. The three veteran leaders, plus a leader who signed a 10-day contract via a hardship exception, were unable to play. League rules have banned the team from meeting for group practices or formal shootouts during this outbreak, making it difficult to correct areas they need to improve.

Still, the Wizards had the Eastern Conference leaders Bulls on their heels for most of the game. The Wizards dominated in the paint, edging the Bulls there, 72-30.

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