Pelicans roll past Wizards in New Orleans, 125-104
Wednesday night marked the start of a stretch where the Wizards will play six of seven away from home. They didn’t get off to the start they wanted in a rematch with New Orleans, as another big deficit at halftime put them behind the eight ball all night. Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis, and Julius Randle all eclipsed 20 points to lead a total of six double-figure scorers for the Pelicans as they rolled to a 125-104 victory on their home floor. It was New Orleans’ first win over Washington since 2015.
Kelly Oubre Jr. made the best of another homecoming to New Orleans, leading the Wizards in scoring with 22 points (six rebounds). Still, Washington couldn’t keep up with a supercharged Pelicans offense that played with much more tempo than it had a week ago in D.C. Davis’ return to the lineup (28 points, 15 rebounds) certainly changed the game for New Orleans, but Holiday’s 29 points followed by Randle’s 23 off the bench made for a three-front attack that was hard to stop on the night.
Conversely, the Wizards’ starters struggled to counter the firepower from Holiday, Davis and co. John Wall (17 points, seven assists) and Bradley Beal (16 points, 11 assists) shot a combined 2-of-11 from beyond the arc and just couldn’t get out of a funk offensively. On the brighter side, Markieff Morris continued to thrive off the bench with 22 points and nine rebounds to match Oubre’s team-high in the scoring column.
"It’s a little frustrating, but it’s fixable," said Beal postgame. "It’s just a matter of getting used to those good habits. We’ve had some good games we put together where we won. It was a really tough one last game and now we have to come back and take care of stuff on the road. And we have another powerhouse coming in on Friday, so we have to be ready.”
The Wizards trailed by as many as 14 in the first quarter, but cut lead down to five at the outset of the second with a Jeff Green slam that capped an 11-2 run. Oubre scored 12 of Washington’s 24 points in the first, and his nine field goals on the night tied a career high. But as was the case for most of the night, New Orleans had answers on the offensive end. A big 22-7 run near the end of the half helped the Pelicans close the half up 67-47.
All night, New Orleans won with pace and extra effort, finding easy buckets in a multitude of ways. The Pelicans dominated in the paint on both ends of the floor, outscoring the Wizards 60-38 and outrebounding them 64-38. They also scored a point more off of Washington’s 16 turnovers (25 points) than the Wizards did off of 20 New Orleans miscues. On the night, the Pelicans’ tempo helped them gain a 26-8 scoring advantage on the fast break.
A 13-2 Wizards run in third quarter helped them climb back into the game, but Anthony Davis heated up in the frame and led the charge to stop Washington momentum. The Wizards went on to have multiple chances to cut the deficit to single digits in the closing minutes of the third, but instead a Nikola Mirotic (15 points, nine rebounds) 3-pointer at the buzzer put the exclamation point on the quarter for New Orleans to cap a burst that eventually returned the Pelicans’ lead to 19 early in the fourth. Washington only came as close as 13 points in the final frame.
Going forward, consistency regardless of the setting is what will determine success for the Wizards.
"We have to find it," said head coach Scott Brooks following the loss. "We found our spirit at home. You know, we won the last few games and we are over .500 at home. On the road, we haven’t played consistently for 48 minutes. We still have to try to figure it out and we need to do it soon because we have a bunch of road games coming up in this month."
The Wizards’ next stop will be in Philadelphia on Friday night for the first half of a road-home back-to-back. Tip-off against the Sixers is set for 7:00 P.M. ET.