WASHINGTON — Washington Wizards head coach Wes Unseld Jr. made sure to preach caution at halftime of Saturday night’s game about the team’s hot shooting, which lead to their highest-scoring first-half output all season. Their lights-out shooting was not goign to continue all game, he said.
Well, coach, it almost did.
Bradley Beal scored 32 points while Kristaps Porzingis produced a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Washington Wizards defeated the Indiana Pacers 127-113 at Capital One Arena on Saturday night. Seven different players scored in double figures for the Wizards, and every player who attempted at least two shots from the floor in the game for Washington shot at least 50 percent in the game.
Washington was red hot from the outset, making 15 of their first 20 shots in the first quarter on their way to a 37-29 lead at the end of the frame, and they opened up the contest late in the second quarter when it went on an 18-4 run right before the end of the half to head into intermission with an 80-57 bulge.
Just last weekend, the Wizards blew 20-point leads in losses to the Portland Trail Blazers and Brooklyn Nets, and when the Pacers scored the first 10 points of the third quarter, signs once again were pointing to another Wizards meltdown. However, Washington was able to hold off any serious threat from Indiana afterward, going into the fourth quarter with a 16-point lead and cruising to the victory.
“We talked about it at halftime — we’re not going to shoot 70 percent 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.”
Overall, the Wizards shot 64 percent (48-for-75) from the field in the contest, just shy of the franchise record of 65.3 percent shooting from the field in an April 8, 2015 game at Philadelphia. Beal shot 13-for-18 from the field, including hitting four of his five three-point attempts.
Tyrese Haliburton led the Pacers with 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Myles Turner added 20 points while Buddy Hield and Bennedict Mathurin each poured in 16 points for the Pacers, who are 2-15 in their last 17 games after a high watermark of 23-18 on Jan. 8.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Rodney Pierce. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 29 pictures in total.