Sharp-shooting Wizards score 80 in half, rout Pacers 127-113
WASHINGTON (AP) — Bradley Beal scored 32 points, Kristaps Porzingis and Monte Morris added 17 apiece and the Washington Wizards shot 70% from the field through the first three quarters of their 127-113 rout of the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
Washington led 80-57 after its highest-scoring half of the season. The Wizards gave up the first 10 points of the third quarter, bringing back memories of a couple recent games in which they blew 20-point leads, but they steadied themselves quickly and led 104-88 heading into the fourth.
Washington was able to substitute liberally toward the end — 13 players appeared for the Wizards — and a late slide dropped their final shooting percentage down to 64%, costing them a franchise record but setting a season high by a comfortable margin.
“We talked about it at halftime — we’re not going to shoot 70% all game,” Washington coach Wes Unseld Jr. said. “But we still shot pretty well. That was kind of the messaging. Don’t get complacent with just making shots.”
Tyrese Haliburton scored 21 points and Myles Turner had 20 for Indiana, which has lost 15 of its last 17.
Washington, which pulled even with Chicago for ninth place in the Eastern Conference, was without Kyle Kuzma because of a sprained left ankle.
The Wizards had 18 turnovers to Indiana’s eight and allowed 27 second-chance points, but none of that made much difference with Washington shooting such an incredible percentage. The Wizards shot 73% from 2-point range, 46% from 3 and 86% on free throws.
The Wizards went 15 of 20 from the field in the first quarter — including 12 of 13 inside the arc — and led 37-29. It took a little while before Washington really broke the game open, but an 18-4 run late in the first half made it 80-55.
The Wizards have won two in a row following a three-game losing streak in which they led by at least 20 in losses to Portland and Brooklyn. They traded Rui Hachimura recently and acquired Kendrick Nunn, but it was otherwise a quiet trade deadline for Washington.
“I think our biggest thing is being healthy,” Beal said. “This is our team. You can’t make any adjustments now. You’ve got to ride it out throughout the rest of the year.”
Often when a team shoots an unusually high percentage early, it regresses dramatically at some point, but the Wizards shot 75% in the first quarter, 71% in the second and 62% in the third. They finally dipped to 48% in the fourth, missing their final four attempts of the game.
Pacers: George Hill and Jordan Nwora, acquired Thursday from Milwaukee in a trade, are expected to suit up for the Pacers next week. ... Daniel Theis (right knee) did not play.
Wizards: Daniel Gafford scored 13 points on 6-of-6 shooting. ... Before Saturday, Washington’s top shooting percentage this season was 58% at Philadelphia on Nov. 2. The franchise record is 65.3% on April 8, 2015, also at Philadelphia.
Pacers: Host Utah on Monday night.
Wizards: At Golden State on Monday night.
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