September 16, 2019

Washington Wizards Game 62 Recap: Wiz lose Beal and the game as Paul George paces Pacers

(Photo by: @NBA)

(Photo by: @NBA)

Last night the Washington Wizards were embarrassed by the conference leading Cleveland Cavaliers on national television. On the second end of a back-to-back, the DC franchise was hoping to get back on track with an important matchup with the Indiana Pacers, the conference’s current seven seed. Randy Wittman understands the importance of the game because it is a four game swing when taking into account that the winner gets the season tiebreak. Following Bradley Beal starting in the second half against the Cavs, the Florida product was back in the starting lineup for the first time since February 11th.

As if it was a bad omen, Bradley Beal left the game in the third quarter with a sprained pelvis. The offense was never the same as Washington scored 35 points in the entire second half after dropping 37 in the first quarter alone. Paul George had 38 points on just 22 shot attempts and won the game at the free throw line, where the Wizards evidently lost it with 15 of 24 shooting from the charity stripe. In a game that was going to have a big effect on the Wizards playoff chances, they fell 100-99 in heartbreak fashion.

A lot has been made by Coach Wittman and John Wall about Otto Porter Jr. needing to exert himself more in order for Washington to reach their full potential. The Georgetown star scored the Wizards first 6 points before the rest of the starters combined for a 13-4 run. The last time he was in DC, Paul George dropped 40 on the Verizon Center hardwood and he was well on his way tonight with 16 in the first quarter. With his recent woes, Garrett Temple was the first Wizards player to warm up before the game and it looked to pay off by hitting a corner 3-pointer and beating the buzzer with a layup to give the home team a 37-31 lead after one quarter.

Washington extended their run from the first quarter to 10-0 to take a 41-31 advantage early in the second. Nene exited the game early in the quarter after taking a Jordan Hill elbow to the right eye area that took stitches to repair, he returned later in the quarter. The Wizards had three turnovers in the first three minutes of the game and then had three straight in the second quarter that allowed Indiana to get within four with an 8-2 run. The home team responded with a 10-0 run of their own once they got the sloppy offense under control. The Pacers would not go quietly being down 14 points as they closed the half on an 11-3 run before Beal beat the buzzer to give the Wizards a 64-56 halftime edge.

Midway through the third quarter, Beal got obliterated by Myles Turner on a drive where he lost his legs. The injury-prone shooter took a while to get up, was carried to the bench by Drew Gooden and JJ Hickson before getting assistance from head athletic trainer Eric Waters on his way to the locker room. Shortly there after Indiana cut Washington’s lead to two points, the closest since late in the first quarter. The Wizards offense struggled after Beal’s departure (sprained pelvis), 6 of 22 shooting (27.3 percent) in the quarter, which allowed Pacers to cut the Washington lead to 80-78 going into the final quarter.

Indiana took their first lead of the game since 4:45 left in the first quarter midway through the quarter 88-87 as Washington continued to struggle to score, especially with their bench in the game. With 4:30 remaining in the half, the Wizards had only scored 23 points in the second session thanks to 9 of 33 (27.3 percent) shooting. John Wall was finally fed up with his and the team’s poor performance by finishing through contact twice, including an acrobatic behind the head layup.

The Wizards missed multiple defensive rebounds late that allowed the Pacers to retake the lead. In a tie game, Nene went 1 of 2 from the free throw line to give Washington a one point advantage with 10 seconds to play. Paul George was given two free throws on a late call that put Indiana up one with three seconds to play. John Wall was forced to take a low-percentage fade away jumper at the horn that would not go. The Wizards lost a heartbreaker 100-99.

Washington will have a couple days off before departing for a three-game road trip to the West Coast. They will start off with the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday with Damian Lillard coming off of a 50 point performance last night.

 

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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