Sports

Wiz Clamp Down on Davis, Pelicans, Win 17th Straight at Home

For the second time in a week, New Orleans Pelicans All-Star forward Anthony Davis had his way with the Washington Wizards, and for the second time, it didn’t matter.

John Wall had 24 points, 13 assists and five steals, and the Wizards’ stifling defense shut out Davis and the Pelicans over the final 5:52 of a 105-91 win Saturday at Verizon Center in northwest D.C., the team’s 17th consecutive home victory.

Davis had 25 points and 10 rebounds, but the Wizards (30-20) picked it up defensively in the fourth quarter, holding him scoreless in the final frame. In fact, the Pelicans (19-32) shot just 3-21 from the floor and scored a total of eight points in the quarter.

“They were missing some shots, but I thought we picked it up defensively,” said Wizards head coach Scott Brooks. “In the fourth quarter, it’s always about picking up intensity. Our bench guys came in and did a great job. They gave us a chance to have our starters to come back in and finish the game off.”

Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris looks to pass in the second quarter of the Wizards' 105-91 win against the New Orleans Pelicans at Verizon Center in northwest D.C. on Feb. 4. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)
Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris looks to pass in the second quarter of the Wizards’ 105-91 win against the New Orleans Pelicans at Verizon Center in northwest D.C. on Feb. 4. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)

One of those bench players, Kelly Oubre Jr., scored 10 points with two assists in nearly 23 minutes.

“That’s incredible,” he said of his team giving up just eight points in the fourth quarter. “I would think that is one of the best quarters we’ve played this year. It’s a credit to everybody bringing that maximum effort in the second half.”

The Wizards sprinted out to a 14-2 lead within first four minutes, but the score was 24-18 at the end of the first quarter.

Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal scored his first five points of the game with less than two minutes left in the second quarter. He finished the game with 12 points and five rebounds.

Then the second half came and became an even more competitive game with Davis scoring 10 points in the third quarter and Wall scoring 11 points with two assists.

But in the fourth, the Pelicans guards had difficulty penetrating in the paint and Davis took only three shots.

The Wizards had a balanced offensive attack with six players in double figures. Center and Poland native Marcin Gortat finished with 12 points and 17 rebounds on Polish Heritage Night at Verizon Center.

Forward Markieff Morris pitched in with 18 points.

“Everybody’s playing with a lot of swag,” he said. “We just have to keep continuing to play together and playing defense.”

The Wizards are also amid a seven-game overall win streak, including a Jan. 29 road victory over the Pelicans. Davis scored 36 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, but Washington still won by 13 points.

A true test for the Wizards comes Monday in a nationally televised game against LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers (34-15) at Verizon Center.

“They’re a team that’s been playing OK, but they’re the defending champs,” Morris said. “We know [Cleveland’s] a team we have to chase in the East. We have a great streak going on at home. It’s going to be a packed crowd. A lot of people here and it’s on TV.”

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Both teams wore league-issued T-shirts during warmups and on the bench in recognition of Black History Month.

Wall told reporters afterward that all players will wear the shirts for every game in February as part of the league initiative. Several shoe companies have provided custom sneakers for the month and numerous players will speak at various events, he said.

“All that African-Americans did for us just to give us freedom to let us understand … that you can’t fall short on your goals and always achieve what you want,” said Wall, who has his own foundation to help disadvantaged families. “It shows the world has changed from what it’s been in the past.”

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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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