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Wizards fall to Pacers, 121-106
Bradley Beal’s third 30-point performance of the season and Thomas Bryant’s third career 20-point, 10-rebound game were not enough as the Wizards (2-5) fell to the Pacers (4-4) Wednesday night in Indianapolis, 121-106.
The Wizards came out firing, shooting 6-12 (.500) from 3-point range in the opening quarter. All six 3-pointers came from a different shooter, marking the first time since March 27, 2018 against San Antonio that six different Wizards connected from deep in a single quarter. Pacers forward Doug McDermott headlined a high-scoring second quarter, tallying 15 of his 19 points, shooting 5-7 (.714) from the field and 4-6 (.667) from 3-point range. Beal scored 12 points of his own, but Indiana took an eight-point lead into the halftime break after outscoring Washington, 44-36, in the second quarter.
After Isaiah Thomas opened the second half with his second 3-pointer of the night, cutting the Indiana lead to five, the Pacers unleashed a 22-2 run, led by JaKarr Sampson, who accounted for 10 of the 22 points. The Wizards answered with a run of their own, cutting the Indiana lead to 14 after scoring the final 11 points of the third quarter. The deficit, however, was too much to overcome as the Wizards never managed to get within single digits of the Pacers in the fourth quarter.
“When we don’t shoot the ball well, we get down on ourselves,” Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said. “We’re not a team that doesn’t play with effort, but we’re a team that we have to play with that maximum effort no matter what. If you make a shot or miss a shot, you’ve got to get back and lock in and guard your man.”
Beal struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 1-12 (.083) from deep, but converted on 11-17 (.647) from 2-point range in what was Washington’s third consecutive road loss to the Pacers. Beal tacked on five rebounds and five assists, giving him three games this season with 25-plus points, five-plus rebounds and five-plus assists. Only two players in the league – Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Dončić – have recorded more such games.
“There was just a point where we couldn’t get stops,” Beal said postgame. “The whole second quarter and part of the third quarter hurt, too. It was 26-26 after the first quarter, then we were just playing catch up. Granted, shots aren’t going to fall always, but we’ve got to defend better than what we did tonight.”
The Wizards bench, which entered the game second in the league in scoring at 49.0 points per game, put forth another strong performance, totaling 46 points. C.J. Miles (15) and Davis Bertans (11) led the reserve unit in scoring, each shooting 3-6 (.500) from 3-point range. For Bertans, the performance marked his fifth this season with three-plus 3-pointers off the bench, the most in the NBA.
Washington went 19-19 from the free throw line, becoming the first team in the league to shoot 100% from the line in a game this season.
The Wizards and Pacers won’t meet again until a pair of matchups in the final weeks of the regular season – in Indianapolis on Sunday, April 5 and in D.C. for the Wizards regular season finale on Wednesday, April 15.
The Wizards are back at Capital One Arena Friday night, hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers (2-5) at 7:00 P.M. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN, locally on NBC Sports Washington and available on the radio on 1500 AM.