Sports

Wizards’ Slide Continues in Loss to Pacers

DeMatha Catholic High School product Victor Oladipo returned to the D.C. area Sunday and showed the Washington Wizards why he’s an All-Star this year.

Oladipo scored 10 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter to preserve an Indiana Pacers victory, 98-95, at Capital One Arena in northwest D.C.

He scored 11 of the Pacers 30 points in the first quarter.

“It was a good win, period,” said Oladipo, who also had seven rebounds and three assists. “It was cool playing in front of family and friends. We just needed the win.”

Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said he’s witnessed Oladipo’s performance Sunday the entire season.

“It looked like he had his legs tonight,” he said. “He was getting back in transition [and] had lift on his jump shot. That’s the Vic that we’ve seen all season long.”

Wizards head coach Scott Brooks said defense was one reason for his team’s sluggish first half, which allowed Indiana (36-27) to shoot 53 percent from the floor. The Wizards shot only 39 percent.

“The first six or seven minutes [Pacers] were on pace for 40-something points in the first quarter,” he said. “We couldn’t stop the ball. We couldn’t contest shots. They were scoring at the rim at well.”

Washington eventually picked up defensive intensity, going on a 7-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter to trim the deficit 80-72. The Pacers shot only 29 percent in the fourth quarter and committed seven turnovers.

But the Wizards had dug too deep a hole and slowed down the stretch after expending so much energy attempting to get back in the game. Shooting guard Bradley Beal, who logged 43 minutes and played the entire fourth quarter, missed two chances to tie the game in the waning seconds, including a 3-point attempt that drew back iron.

“I was tired, but you [have] to go all-out,” said Beal, who finished with 22 points and 11 assists, but shot just 8 for 27 from the floor and committed five turnovers. “Great plays that coach drew up.”

Washington (36-28) has now lost three straight games for the first time this season. The loss also dropped the team to fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, a half-game behind Indiana with the playoffs looming next month.

The Wizards on Tuesday host the Miami Heat (33-30), which sits just 2½ games behind Washington in the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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