Recap: Wizards lose 127-102 in New Orleans




WIZARDS: Bradley Beal (23), Raul Neto (13), Spencer Dinwiddie (11)

PELICANS: Brandon Ingram (26), Jonas Valanciunas (21), Josh Hart (16)

In the first game of a four-game road trip, the Wizards were defeated by the Pelicans 127-102 on Wednesday night at Smoothie King Center. Bradley Beal, who did not play in the teams’ last meeting, scored a team-high 23 points to lead the way for Washington. With the Pelicans win, the home team has now won the seven games in the series.

The Pelicans knocked down a 3-pointer on the first possession of the game opening up a dominant run to start the game. The Wizards trailed 25-9 before a Beal mid-range jumper snapped a run of nearly five minutes without a made field goal. Washington cut the lead to single digits with 1:15 left in the first quarter and trailed 36-27 heading to the second quarter after a Spencer Dinwiddie 3-pointer found the bottom of the net in the closing seconds of the first. The Pelicans fired back in the second. In a span of less than three minutes, New Orleans went on a 15-3 run to open up a 24-point lead with 3:49 left in the first half. Beal carried the Wizards’ offense through the second quarter, scoring 14 of the team’s 23 points, but Washington trailed 72-50 heading into halftime.

A pair of alley-oop dunks to Daniel Gafford in the third quarter jumpstarted a brief Wizards run that eventually cut the deficit to 16 points, but Washington struggled to maintain the momentum. A long-range four-point play from Josh Hart at the third-quarter buzzer put the Pelicans back up by 22 points heading into the final frame. The Wizards were unable to make up ground in the fourth and turned to their reserves in the game’s closing minutes.


Wizards go cold from deep despite Bertans’ return
Davis Bertans made his return to the lineup on Wednesday night, playing in his first game since November 1 – a 10-game absence as he recovered from an ankle sprain. Bertans checked in with 3:29 left in the first quarter and knocked down his first 3-pointer with just over a minute left in the opening frame, but was unable to get going over the course of the night. Bertans, who shot 1-9 (.111) from deep, was not alone. As a team, the Wizards shot 7-31 (.226) from beyond the arc, their second-straight game shooting under 25.0% from three.

Washington struggles at the free throw line
In the early going, the Wizards answered one of Wes Unseld Jr.’s most consistent calls throughout the last few weeks of the season – the need to consistently play with aggression and create free throw attempts. Washington, however, could not take advantage of those opportunities they created on Wednesday night, shooting 23-36 (.639) from the free throw line, their fourth-lowest free throw percentage of the season. Montrezl Harrel, who entered the game shooting over 80% from the line this season, hit just 2-8 (.250) in New Orleans. The Pelicans, on the other hand, shot knocked down 27 of their 32 attempts (.844) at the line.

Washington struggles to keep Ingram, Valanciunas in check
The Pelicans were led by standout performances from Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas, who combined for 47 points and 16 rebounds. Ingram, who scored 31 points in the teams’ first matchup of the season, was efficient on Wednesday night, shooting 9-15 (.600) from the field and finishing plus-21 in 32 minutes.


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