Wizards out of control with Pacers on tap
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WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards need to work on being less charitable as they continue their four-game homestand Sunday against the Indiana Pacers.
Washington is 0-2 thus far -- albeit against two tough opponents -- in large part because they turned the ball over way too often.
On Wednesday night, they committed 18 turnovers in a 109-101 loss to the Golden State Warriors. On Friday night, the Wizards (36-27) gave it up 18 times again, leading to 27 points in a 102-95 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Washington built a 56-48 rebounding edge and nearly matched Toronto's field goal percentage.
"We just need to be simple," Washington guard Bradley Beal said. "Sometimes we try to make the home run play, or a play that's not there, or get the assist, or whatever it may be. We just got to be simple, myself included. Just be smarter with our decisions and be decisive."
Beal rebounded from an eight-point effort against Golden State with 23 points against the Raptors. Otto Porter Jr. led Washington with 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting. In the last four games, Porter is averaging 23.3 points on 57 percent shooting (36 of 63).
"He's really stepped up. He's making shots. He's making timely shots. We need it," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "He's not a thirsty scorer. He's a good scorer. He gets opportunities when they present himself and he's just a great ball mover."
The Wizards fell to 10-5 as point guard John Wall recovers from left knee surgery. Brooks said before the game that Wall was close to beginning on-court work consisting of light shooting.
Washington sits fourth in the Eastern Conference, one-half game ahead of Indiana (35-27).
The Pacers snapped a two-game losing streak Friday night with a 103-96 victory over the Bucks in Milwaukee. Indiana held Milwaukee to 38.3 percent shooting and forced 14 turnovers.
"We have gotten back to playing Pacers basketball," Cory Joseph told the team's website. "It was a grind-it-out game and we were putting on the pressure as a team."
Indiana opened a 17-point lead in the second half and held on late. Victor Oladipo led five starters in double figures with 21 points and former Wizards player Bojan Bogdanovic had 14.
"From the arena, to the refs, to the players, everybody, it definitely was a playoff atmosphere," Oladipo told The Indianapolis Star. "That was a big win for us. ... A gritty tough win and a nice bounceback game for us."
The loosely officiated gamet featured lots of bumping and shoving along with several technical fouls.
"If you get into the playoffs, it's going to get physical, and you just have play through it," Pacers coach Nate McMillan told the Star. "You can't allow officiating to be to be a distraction. This is where you have to execute and trust the things you've conditioned yourself to do."
Indiana has lost four straight to Washington, including Feb. 5 when the Wizards won 111-102 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Pacers were without starting guards Darren Collison and Oladipo for that one.
Bogdanovic led all scorers with a season-high 29 points and Joe Young added 17. Beal led Washington with 21 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 15 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Wizards, who had eight players score in double figures.
The Wizards can clinch the season series with a win Sunday, which could come in handy as a tiebreaker at seeding time.
Updated March 3, 2018