With temperatures in the midwest dipping below negative-20 this week, it should have come as little surprise that Indiana went ice-cold in D.C. on Wednesday.
The Wizards held a frigid Pacers squad to just 39 percent from the field — 29 percent from three — on their way to a 107-89 win over the East’s current fourth-best team. Bradley Beal led Washington with 25 points plus six rebounds and assists apiece, while the Pacers’ best scorer was Thad Young with a measly 13.
With both teams’ respective star players out for the season in Victor Oladipo and John Wall, it was a battle of attrition — one that Washington won with ease.
The Wizards started out the night looking positively sieve-like on defense, allowing Indiana to start 7-of-8 from the field, but quickly learned to fight fire with fire. Washington unleashed a 15-2 run on the Pacers shortly thereafter, led by Beal’s nine points and four assists. Washington left the first quarter with an impressive team-wide 50-40-90 shooting line and a 35-25 lead.
Both teams began the second quarter by burping up all-bench units to thrill the national TV audience. Somewhat unexpected was the inclusion of G-League star Jordan McRae in the Wizards’ set. McRae didn’t have much of an impact in the first half, but it was nice to see him in the rotation given his penchant for scoring in bunches — a characteristic that the Wizards’ bench notably lacks. He would finish the game with 12 points.
In this one, Jeff Green was the second unit’s catalyst. Uncle Jeff entered the game with around six minutes left in the first quarter and the Wizards trailing by four. Over the next 18 minutes of unbroken playing time, Green would score 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting. He added four rebounds, three assists, a block and at least two drawn charges. Green was a plus-18 by halftime, his presence catapulting the Wizards into a comfortable halftime lead of 59-45.
The third quarter brought with it only more mirth for the Wiz kids — at least at first. Washington opened the second half on an immediate 8-0 run and stretched their sizable lead all the way to 25 points at 75-50. Though the Pacers outscored the Wizards’ all-bench unit 19-7 over the remainder of the quarter, giving themselves a fighting chance,
Washington opened the fourth with yet another 8-0 run to extend the lead back to a comfortable level, and Indiana never got close again. Eventually, Washington closed out an essential 107-89 win over Indiana — a nice consolation after the brutal loss in Cleveland on Tuesday.
Otto Goes Down Again
The only tough moment of the night was when Otto Porter Jr. went down with yet another nagging injury. Porter sprained his left big toe, the same big toe he injured earlier this season in November. He was only listed as Doubtful to return on the in-game status report, suggesting he could have come back if need be.
But regardless of the severity of his toe injury, it’s just discouraging to see Otto go down yet again with a minor injury. It’s difficult to remember the last time he wasn’t at least somewhat injured, whether it’s sitting out weeks at a time or just limping up and down the court. Add that to his recent cold spell, and it’s getting harder and harder to envision seeing the best of Porter this season.
Your Moment of Zen
When John Wall gets in on Bradley Beal's handshake routine with the coaches pic.twitter.com/VZKzY699ox— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) January 31, 2019
SURPRISE DOUBLE MOMENT OF ZEN
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA pic.twitter.com/fyqOazdUyD— Thomas Bryant BR (@WizardsMilGrau) January 31, 2019
Next up: Washington returns to action on Saturday night at 7 pm Eastern Time when they host the conference-leading Milwaukee Bucks.