Wizards Outlast Pelicans to Close Out Homestand
Bradley Beal lead the Washington Wizards to victory over the Pelicans with 26 points during a game at the Capital One Field in Washington, DC. Robert Eubanks/DC Sports Box
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Wizards defeated the Pelicans 116-106 on Tuesday night, finishing their four-game homestand with a 3-1 record.

The game was a tale of two different Wizards teams. The first was an example of what the Wizards can be when they are firing on all cylinders. This version of the team took advantage of the Pelicans turnovers and loose defense totake an early 25-point advantage. On the other side was the team that fans have grown accustomed to seeing in the early parts of this season, a team that blows double-digit leads and makes games closer than they need to be. This version of the team went scoreless from the field for over seven minutes between the second and third quarter and allowed the Pelicans to get back into the contest. But in the end, the first version of the team made a triumphant return and allowed the Wizards to pull away late in the third quarter. 
 
“It seemed like it was two games in one. We're up 25 and then tied, or they took a point lead and then we jumped on them again,” said Wizards Coach Scott Brooks. “Our starters came out and did a good job. John [Wall], he set the table. He set the table for our guys to run and get easy buckets. I thought they did a good job of running, making shots, he hit his threes -- something he's been working on.”

Early in the game, it looked as if all the rust was gone for John Wall after missing nine games with a left knee injury. Midway through the first quarter, Wall led the Wizards on a 14-0 run where he had a hand in every point. Wall scored nine points during the run and had an assist on a trey by Bradley Beal and dunk by Marcin Gortat, allowing the Wizards to take a 30-13 advantage. Wall finished the quarter with 14 points and 6 assists, but only added 4 points and 4 assists the rest of the contest.

The Wizards bench, led by Mike Scott, kept the momentum going in the second quarter. Scott chipped in 12 points and the Wizards were able to take a 25-point lead, their largest of the game. Late in the quarter, with all five Wizards starters back on the court, the Pelicans went on a 18-1 run to close out the first half, with 16 of those points coming from the free throw line. During the run, the Wizards turned the ball over on four straight possessions and sent the Pelicans to the free throw line on six straight possessions. Going into the half, the Wizards held a 61-55 advantage.

The Pelicans continued their momentum early in the third quarter, going on a 6-0 run to tie the game at 61, forcing a Wizards timeout. Coming out of the timeout, the Wizards went on a 7-0 run to regain momentum and outscored the Pelicans 20-4 over the last seven minutes to put the game away. After a quiet first half where he had 4 points, Beal took over for the Wizards in the third quarter, scoring 14 of his team-high 26 points.

“We got up 20 plus and then fouled away too much putting on the free-throw line and really just let them back in the game strictly off free throws,” said Beal. “Then in the second half, we just turned it up again, and our defense is what won us the game.”

Standing Ovation for Scott:

Mike Scott went 11-for-15 from the field and finished with a season-high 24 points for the Wizards. He continues to provide a big boost off the Wizards bench and it was clear to see that the fans appreciate his effort. Every time Scott checked out of the game on Tuesday night, there would be thunderous applause, with many fans giving Scott a standing ovation.

“I’m very grateful for that. It may seem like nothing to other players, but stuff like that feels great to a player. It’s very encouraging, especially from past years I had, so, it feels great,” said Scott.

Not only are the fans noticing the difference in Scott’s play, but so are opponents. Add DeMarcus Cousins to the list of players impressed with Scott’s recent play.

“You can tell he is playing with a lot of confidence right now. He has been a spark for them lately, and he came out and did that exact thing tonight,” said Cousins. “We did not stop the bleeding when we had a chance to. He had his way with us tonight.”

Double Trouble:


The Pelicans present a unique challenge for any team with two talented big men in Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Davis finished the game with 37 points and 9 rebounds for the Pelicans while Cousins added 26 points and 13 assists. Despite their big numbers, Wizards Coach Scott Brooks was happy with his team’s performance in slowing down the big men.

"I thought we did a good job,” said Brooks. “Look at their numbers, it probably doesn't always say that, 37 points and 26 [points]. Those guys are really good men. They're a big part of their offense and they should be. But I thought the first quarter set the tone. Our bigs did a good job of making them take tough shots and then we got out on a run.”

Upcoming Games:

 
The Wizards are on the road against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday evening.

The Pelicans are on the road against the Orlando Magic on Friday evening.
 
Written by Hirdesh Matta