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Wizards topple Pacers, roll to fifth straight win
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The Wizards may have heard somewhere that the second half was supposed to be the toughest stretch of the schedule this season. It hasn’t mattered for a little over a week now. Monday, Washington went into Indianapolis looking for its longest winning streak of the season and painted another team masterpiece on the way to a 111-102 win over the Victor Oladipo-less Pacers. Bradley Beal’s 21 points led the way, but eight Wizards finished in double-figures when all was said and done.
You may have heard the phrase “everybody eats” from Beal lately, and the Wizards have lived up to the mantra during a now five-game winning streak since their floor general John Wall went down with an injury. Monday, that meant 15 points and seven boards for Kelly Oubre Jr. to lead the bench, 22 points and 19 rebounds combined from Marcin Gortat and Markieff Morris and 13 points from Otto Porter Jr. That’s leaving out, of course, 12 points and seven boards from Ian Mahinmi and another 22 points between Mike Scott and Jodie Meeks.
Now rolling on what was billed as a challenging road trip, the Wizards jumped on the Pacers early and didn’t let up. Indiana led by a point for all of 19 seconds (in the second quarter) on the night, while Washington enjoyed leads as large as 17 and led by double-digits for nearly the entire second half.
Monday night was another heaping helping of the formula that may be sparking the kind of winning tear many thought the Wizards were capable of at the outset of the season. Washington struggled from 3-point range on the night (just 28 percent), but again used 29 assists to pour in 45 field goals at a near 55-percent clip to end the Pacers’ six-game home winning streak.
Despite not having the 3-ball working consistently, the Wizards still found ways to get on pivotal runs in both halves to create distance. The first was a 20-5 run in the second quarter helped by a 4-for-6 outburst from 3-point range to go up 14 late in first half. The second came as an answer to Indiana’s last push down the stretch when it had shaved the lead to seven with just under nine minutes remaining. Porter led a 13-3 response with nine points of his own to get the Wizards back up 17 with just over four minutes remaining.
Another major theme from the Wizards’ five-game winning streak has been attention to detail, and it made the difference again Monday night. Washington continued to hit free throws at an impressively high rate, shooting 82.4 percent after hitting 90 percent or better in recent games. In comparison, the Pacers missed nine from the line on the night. Finally, the Wizards turned 15 Indiana turnovers into 30 points on Monday, helped by their 18-9 advantage on the fast break.
Next, Washington will head to Philadelphia for part two of a back-to-back to close out a three-game road trip. Tip-off against the Sixers is set for 8pm on Tuesday night.
Odds and Ends
- The Wizards used a team effort on the boards to out-rebound the Pacers, 43-35.
- Despite leading for nearly the entire night, Ian Mahinmi’s +9 ratio was the only positive number from Washington’s bench unit.
- Former Wizard Bojan Bogdanovic led the way for the Pacers on the night with 29 points.