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Wizards lose to Pacers, drop a spot in Eastern Conference playoff race

Wizards lose to Pacers, drop a spot in Eastern Conference playoff race

The Washington Wizards lost to the Indiana Pacers 98-95 on Sunday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Wizards drop a spot: Earlier in the week the Wizards did an impressive job holding off teams aiming to gain on them in the playoff race. They had no such luck on Sunday night against the Pacers.

Indiana beat them and in doing so took over sole possesion of fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards dropped to fifth and now sit a half-game ahead of the Sixers. The Pacers also tied up the season series with the final game between the teams set for March 17.

There is still plenty of basketball to go, but the Wizards have lost their footing in recent games, albeit against very good teams. Their loss to the Pacers gave them three straight defeats for the first time this season. They have lost four of their last six overall.

The Wizards remain firmly in playoff position and their 10-6 mark since John Wall went down with a left knee injury is still impressive. But they need to bounce back and soon because the stakes continue to be raised by the game.


Oladipo is a problem: The first time the Wizards played the Pacers this season Indiana was without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo. They had him in this one and naturally he made a major difference.

Oladipo was the star of the game with 33 points, seven rebounds and three steals. He got to the rim at will and the referees rewarded him for it. Oladipo went a perfect 6-for-6 at the free throw line in the first half and finished 9-for-10 for the game.

Bradley Beal spent much of the game guarding Oladipo in a matchup of All-Stars, but he had little luck. Meanwhile, the Pacers were able to throw Beal off his game as he shot just 8-for-27 and had five turnovers. He is now 16-for-61 (26.2%) in his last three games.

Beal's shooting night deserves an asterisk because he had to log 43 minutes and follow Oladipo around. His workload has been heavy all year and this game was an extreme example.

As for Oladipo, his emergence has significantly transformed the Pacers' outlook and he's the biggest reason they are on course to make the playoffs. If the Wizards face the Pacers in the postseason, as they are currently slated to do, Oladipo will be the focus of their gameplans. 


Bojan gave them issues: Former Wizards player Bojan Bogdanovic is proving to be a thorn in Washington's side. He dropped 29 points in the first meeting between these teams back on Feb. 5 and had another big game against them on Sunday.

Bogdanovic came out swinging with eight points in his first nine minutes and finished with 20 points, four rebounds and two steals. He was the second-leading scorer on Indiana.

It is only two games and the Wizards found out firsthand last season when he was on their roster how he can go cold as a shooter. But his impact so far against the Wizards this season is something to keep in mind if these teams face off in the playoffs. When he's on, Bogdanovic can be a very dangerous outside shooter and that was the case in this game. He hit three threes.

Scott might be back: No one on the Wizards has been in a shooting slump lately quite like Mike Scott, who at times has been their most reliable bench scorer. He entered Sunday night shooting just 34.1 percent in his previous seven games. Head coach Scott Brooks has given him less minutes than usual at times, but that is a big change from what we're used to seeing from Scott, who is third on the team in field goal percentage (53.3).

Scott, though, showed some life against the Pacers. He hit two threes to snap a six-game drought from the perimeter and ended up with 10 points in 22 minutes on 4-for-8 from the field. The Wizards have had trouble scoring against some good defenses in recent games and could use his contributions.

Scott's play convinced Brooks to roll with him down the stretch in lieu of starter Markieff Morris (12 points, seven rebounds). Marcin Gortat (10 points, seven rebounds) also took a seat as Ian Mahinmi (eight points, nine rebounds) closed the game and so did Tomas Satoransky (seven points) who sat in favor of Jodie Meeks (seven points).

Meeks ended up logging 26 minutes, his most playing time since Dec. 12. Yet it was still not enough to give Beal some rest.

Oubre is hurt: The Wizards faced the Pacers without their best bench player, as Kelly Oubre, Jr. was a late scratch due to a sore left foot. Oubre has been dealing with left knee discomfort in recent days and has at times been playing with a band under his kneecap. Perhaps the two injuries are related.

It was the first game of the season that Oubre has missed. That leaves Beal and Gortat as the only two Wizards players who have appeared in every single game so far.

Up next: The Wizards are off Monday before continuing their homestand on Tuesday with the Miami Heat in town. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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Scott Brooks, Ramon Sessions hoping for best with Tyronn Lue's health issues

USA Today Sports Images

Scott Brooks, Ramon Sessions hoping for best with Tyronn Lue's health issues

As a fellow NBA head coach, Scott Brooks understands what Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers is going through. As his former teammate, Ramon Sessions knows how tough Lue is.

Both members of the Wizards shared their reactions after Monday's practice to the news Lue is stepping away from the Cavs to deal with a health issue. Both expressed hope Lue will not be out long as the NBA continues its trek towards the playoffs.

"All of our thoughts are with him," Brooks said. "You hope that it's nothing serious. Health is the most important [thing]. The game is secondary."


"Prayers out to T-Lue," said Sessions, who played with Lue in Milwaukee. "It's one of those things where you've gotta take care of yourself at the end of the day. Him stepping away is the best thing."

Lue's illness has been a mystery to doctors, according to a statement he released on the Cavaliers' website. He has dealt with chest pains and other symptoms while also struggling to sleep. The hope is that having time off will allow him to get the rest he needs.


Brooks knows firsthand how difficult it is to get sleep during the regular season as a coach.

"You just have to figure out ways to get your rest. Some days are better than others. Sometimes you think after a good win you can have a good night's rest or sometimes it's the opposite. It's just hard to get rest. You're traveling in different timezones. You are emotional after games. You eat late. There are a lot of factors that go into it. We don't have a set schedule every night. I have a good staff and I rely on them," he said.

Lue, 40, will be replaced by associate head coach Larry Drew in the interim. The Cavs happen to be in a tight playoff race with the Wizards and other teams in the Eastern Conference battling for position.

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

Associated Press

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Phil Chenier tells stories ahead of his jersey retirement

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by Bullets/Wizards legend Phil Chenier ahead of his jersey retirement set for this upcoming weekend on March 23.

Chenier looked back on his playing and broadcasting career and told great stories. He also shared some memories of the 1978 championship as the franchise gets ready to honor its 40th anniversary.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!