The Washington Wizards lost their ninth-straight game Monday in a 96-89 loss to David West and the visiting Indiana Pacers. West sealed the deal for Indiana with two clutch jumpers late in the fourth on his way to a season-high 30 points. Rookie Bradley Beal led the Wizards in defeat with a team-high 18 points off the bench.
“It’s tough,” said Beal, who scored 17 of his 18 points in the second half. “We didn’t start the game well and all of a sudden you look up and you’re down by a lot. We fought back though and gave ourselves a chance.”
The Pacers took advantage early as the Wizards gave up easy opportunities from the baseline. Turnovers led to transition baskets and Washington scrambled to keep up. On the other end of the court, the Wizards shot a dismal 26.3% from the field. The Wizards trailed the Pacers 28-13 after one.
Washington fought mid-second and chipped a 19-point deficit down to 9, trailing 50-41 at half. Wizards Head Coach Randy Wittman employed a three-guard lineup of A.J. Price, Bradley Beal, and Jordan Crawford, and the trio helped Washington ease into somewhat of a rhythm. Crawford scored 9 of his 11 first half points in the second period, scoring 0 in the second half.
“We’re a team that play in spurts, instead of the great teams that play 48 minutes,” said Crawford after the game. “I think that we’re going to have to work towards that 48th minute.”
Seraphin chipped in 9 points of his own in the first half and started the second half at center. The nod didn’t help, as the trio of Seraphin, Price, and Crawford contributed a combined 0 points in the third quarter. Indiana cruised ahead 69-49 with 4:56 left to play in the period, but Washington wouldn’t give up.
Down 20 with less than five minutes in the third, Beal came out as a finisher. He scored 9 points in the quarter, including two three-pointers. The Wizards trailed 71-67 after three. Beal continued to score in the fourth, playing at a much more aggressive tempo than he did Saturday versus the Utah Jazz. Washington got within one point after a Chris Singleton bucket–which could have tied the game 86-all with 3:30 left in the fourth if Singleton made the and-1 free throw–but the Pacers pulled away again thanks to two clutch baskets by West within the final two minutes and change.
“We have to figure out how to play a game, a whole game,” said Coach Wittman after Washington’s historic, ninth loss. “I don’t know who to start, who to play, who not to play. We have no consistency.”
The Wizards will visit Atlanta Wednesday to take on the Hawks (7:30 p.m. ET, CSN), then host the Charlotte Bobcats Saturday in their second meeting of the season (7:00 p.m. ET, CSN).