John Wall and the Wizards closed the game on a 15-0 run over the final 5:52 as they beat the Pelicans 105-91 for their 17th straight home victory. Wall led the Wizards with 24 points and 13 assists while Marcin Gortat had a double-double of his own with 12 points and 17 rebounds on Polish Heritage Night.
Washington started the game hot, hitting four of their first five shots taking a quick 14-2 lead which forced New Orleans to call an early timeout. After that hot start from Washington, they shot just 4-17 from the field the rest of the quarter but still led, 24-18 after one. Anthony Davis was a handful down low as the big man scored 10 points in the period with most of them coming in the paint.
After New Orleans trimmed the Wizards lead, Washington’s bench provided a spark and stretched the advantage out to 10 behind jump shots from Jason Smith and two three-pointers from Kelly Oubre. It looked like Washington was getting ready to pull away, but some uninspiring and lackadaisical play from the starters in the second quarter let the Pelicans back into the game. Washington committed seven turnovers in the half with four coming in the second quarter as New Orleans cut the lead down to four at halftime.
The lack of intensity from the second quarter carried over to the third. After New Orleans tied the game at 58, Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal hit back to back three-pointers to help the Wizards regain the lead. Then, the Pelicans used a 11-2 run to take the lead once again behind the hot shooting of Anthony Davis. The damage could have been worse for the Wizards but Wall scored 11 in the period with all of them either coming on dunks or from the free throw line. Even so, the Pelicans led 83-80 after three.
The Wizards flipped the switch midway through the fourth mainly by the play of John Wall. He got the run started on this play where he got a steal, split two defenders on the fast break, and finished through contact to get the bucket.
Wall followed that up with a jumper on the next possession. Then, Wall came up big on the defensive end again as he stripped Tyreke Evans and dove to the floor to call timeout before the Pelicans could force a jump ball situation.
The Wizards held the Pelicans scoreless for the final 5:52 of the game and outscored them 25-8 in the fourth quarter en route to a 105-91 win. The win brings the Wizards record to 30-20 on the season and puts them 10 games over .500 for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.
Here’s what else we noticed in the win:
The Wizards turned in a clunker for most of the game, yet still got the win
When things are going your way, they’re going your way, right? The Wizards looked uninterested in playing basketball from about the 3:00 mark of the first quarter until midway through the fourth. The team flipped the switch, specifically Wall. Wall hit a tough layup in between two defenders only to knock down a jumper the next time down. He backed that up by coming up with a steal on the defensive end.
Against a better team, the Wizards probably would have lost this game. However, a win is a win and the Wizards will take it.
A lackadaisical second quarter
This was a potential letdown game for the Wizards as a primetime matchup against the Cavs is right around the corner. The starters played with very little energy in the second quarter and let the Pelicans back in this game after the bench stretched the lead out to 12. Washington has been nearly flawless during this seven-game winning streak but that wasn’t the case in this one, especially during the second period as they played with little energy and committed some lazy turnovers.
The bench provides a spark
In the first half, the reserves came in a stretched the Wizards lead out to 12, 43-31. In the fourth quarter with the Wizards trailing, the team started 4-5 from the field led by the bench (sans Morris) as the Wizards regained the lead 88-84. Oubre led the way for the reserves with 10 points and Jason Smith had some timely buckets as the bench combined for 27 points tonight.