Pacers take hot streak into game at Wizards
The Indiana Pacers look to sweep a back-to-back set when they visit the Washington Wizards on Saturday night.
The Pacers resumed play Friday night by rallying from 20 points down for a 126-111 win over the visiting New Orleans Pelicans.
Wesley Matthews scored 15 of his 24 points during a third-quarter rally, and Domantis Sabonis had 18 points and 13 rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic added 20 points for Indiana.
Matthews, playing his third game with the Pacers since signing as a free agent after the trade deadline, finished one point below his season high. He was waived after playing two games for the New York Knicks, who acquired him in a trade with the Dallas Mavericks on Jan. 31.
Indiana, which trailed by 13 at halftime, took the lead on Tyreke Evans' 3-pointer late in the third quarter.
"We looked like we were running in mud," Pacers coach Nate McMillan said on NBA.com about the first half. "Slow start, it didn't look like we had that urgency. I thought the third quarter, we challenged our guys to come with that urgency and play the game the way they're capable of playing it."
Evans finished with 17 points and the Pacers, who have won seven of eight, also got strong contributions from Thaddeus Young (16 points, seven rebounds) and Darren Collison (10 points, 12 assists).
Kyle O'Quinn (eight points, 10 rebounds) made his first start with the Pacers in place of Myles Turner (hip), who was out and is day-to-day. Turner is averaging 13.5 points per game.
"Myles is a big loss. We're hoping that he can come back soon," McMillan told the Indianapolis Star before Friday's game. "He was really sore, tried to play through that (Thursday) in practice, couldn't do it. He wanted to try it again and just wasn't moving well."
With a challenging schedule looming in March, the Pacers need to capitalize on a post-All-Star break stretch that includes Saturday's game at Washington.
The Wizards resumed play Friday night as well, dropping a 123-110 decision at Charlotte, despite a season-high 46 points on 16-of-25 shooting from All-Star Bradley Beal.
Washington trailed by five points entering the fourth quarter, but Kemba Walker hit two 3s and Cody Zeller made four free throws to push the Charlotte lead to double digits.
Washington, four games behind eighth-place Detroit in the Eastern Conference, converted just 10 of 39 3-point attempts (25.6 percent).
"We just got to be a lot better on both ends of the floor, and I got to be better in leading us," Beal said in the Washington Post. "Doing whatever it takes to get wins, man, that's all that matters at this point. Forty points don't matter; all that (stuff) don't matter. We got to win ballgames, and we're not doing that."
Jeff Green added 16 points for Washington, and Tomas Satoransky scored 15. Satoransky returned after missing the final two games before the break due to the birth of his and his wife's first child.
Bobby Portis had 12 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, but the Wizards' reserves were outscored 38-21. Portis is averaging 17.6 points and 8.2 rebounds in five games with the Wizards.
The Wizards have lost three straight and 8 of 11. They are 17-11 at home; the Pacers are 16-12 on the road.
The Pacers won the first two meetings between the teams, both in Indiana in December.
Wizards center Dwight Howard returned to the team's practice court Thursday for the first time since undergoing back surgery on Nov. 30. For now, he is limited to non-contact work.
"He feels great. Said he has no pain," coach Scott Brooks said on NBCSports.com. "That's good. That's part of the process."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 23, 2019