NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 9: Markieff Morris #5 of the Washington Wizards dunks against the New Orleans Pelicans on March 9, 2018 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images

Wizards cruise past Pelicans in New Orleans, 116-97

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The Wizards came into New Orleans on Friday night with two days of rest and a golden opportunity to get a key win. With the Pelicans returning from a long road trip without their red-hot All-Star in Anthony Davis (ankle), Washington took advantage and cruised from the jump to end the Pelicans’ 10-game winning streak with a resounding 116-97 victory. With the win, the Wizards are now an impressive 8-1 in their last nine road games.

Otto Porter Jr. (19 points) set the tone for the Wizards offensively from the outset with eight points in a low-scoring first quarter for Washington. By halftime, Porter had 16 and had helped the Wizards get on a massive 25-6 run that helped the Washington lead balloon to as many as 17 points by the break.

As impressive as the first half was, the Wizards saved their largest lead of 27 for the third quarter. An 11-0 run led by five of Bradley Beal’s 16 points (seven assists) and four of Keef Morris’ 17 (six rebounds) helped Washington deliver the decisive blow in the waning minutes of the frame. From there, the second unit took the game home with an impressive effort of its own. On the night, five scored seven or more points off the bench for Washington, highlighted by Mike Scott’s 14 points. Other double-figure scorers included Kelly Oubre Jr. (11 points, six rebounds) and Jodie Meeks (10 points).

While the Wizards’ 116-point barrage was an encouraging sign, the Washington defense – particularly in the first half – made the difference all night. During their winning streak, the Pelicans had averaged over 125 points per game. Friday, the Wizards held them to just 38 points in the first half and moved to 18-3 when holding their opponent under 100 points.

It may sound like a broken record by now, but the Wizards again used a selfless brand of basketball to stymie the Pelicans on Friday. They assisted on 34 of their 46 made field goals on the night, using their pace to dictate the game all evening. Washington also controlled the boards (49-38) to help edge New Orleans in paint scoring but dominate in second chance points, 18-4.

Friday night’s win was part one of a back-to-back that Washington will wrap up Saturday night in Miami as they take on the Heat for the second time in less than a week. Tipoff at American Airlines Arena is set for 7:30 p.m.

Odds and Ends

- Friday marked the Wizards’ sixth straight win in game one of a back-to-back. They’ve only won one of their last five back-ends on back-to-backs, a trend they’ll look to change in Miami on Saturday.

- With another season series sweep of the Pelicans, Washington has now won 12 of its last 13 meetings with New Orleans.

- The Wizards recorded 10 steals Friday night that helped lead to a 20-15 advantage on the fast break. Overall, Washington turned 15 New Orleans turnovers into 16 points on the night.