Bulls can’t finish a great month the right way against the Wizards

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 31: Kris Dunn #32 of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball against the Washington Wizards on December 31, 2017 at Capital One Arena in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON D.C. – Just before the ball drops on 2017 in Times Square, the Bulls dropped it a couple of hours south in the Nation’s Capital.

Too bad, because it looked like a successful and surprising 31 days of basketball was going to end as many others had for the team in December. But the Wizards had other ideas on New Year’s Eve and the Bulls failed to produce a successful counter.

Fred Hoiberg’s team squandered a three-point lead in the final minute and were lacking the critical last-minute that carried them to ten wins in their last 12 games. Instead it was Bradley Beal and John Wall who had the final say in a 114-110 victory by Washington at the Verizon Center on Sunday afternoon.

For the Bulls the month ends with a 10-6 record, which wasn’t expected considering the team won just three of their first 20 games of the season. Their record falls to 13-23, but during the month the Bulls went from the worst team in the NBA to 22nd overall, which is not a good thing if you’re rooting for the best shot at the top pick.

Still the storyline the Bulls had going would have been nice to complete considering their efforts to make that happen for most of Sunday. Nikola Mirotic gave the Bulls another strong effort off the bench with 21 points while steadily improving rookie guard Kris Dunn poured in 19 of his own along with 11 assists.

It was his jumper with 54 seconds left that gave the Bulls a three-point lead, but the offense escaped the Bulls after that as the failed to score again.

Beal, who was impressive in a 39-point outing, went in for an easy layup on the following possession then Wall got a hoop-and-foul on a transition layup to give the Wizards a two-point lead. Dunn missed a chance to tie the game on the next possession and the Bulls couldn’t capitalize on a gift from Beal who missed a pair of free throws.

The ball bounced away from the paint but the Bulls couldn’t corral it, with Wall coming up the offensive rebound and drawing the foul. His two free throws put a sour end to a sweet month for the rebuilding team that raised a few eyebrows this December.