NEW ORLEANS -- The start of Friday's game wasn't promising when Bradley Beal was a late scratch because of what the Wizards called a sore right leg, but they blew another game late as Gary Neal's shot at the buzzer to tie the score failed in a 107-105 defeat at Smoothie King Center.
John Wall came close to a triple-double for the second game in a row to finish with 26 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds.
The Wizards (9-12), who led by nine points midway through the fourth, won't have much time to think about this one. They play at the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday.
Relatively speaking, the Wizards contained Anthony Davis, who was shot 8-for-15 but only scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. But the Pelicans (6-16) converted a franchise record 16 three-point shots.
Otto Porter had 15 points and seven rebounds, Neal 15, Ramon Sessions 14 and Garrett Temple and Marcin Gortat 10 each.
Tyreke Evans led the Pelicans with a game-high 27 points. Jrue Holiday had 19 points and six assists off the bench.
- With no Beal for the fourth time this season, the Wizards have started Temple in the last three occasions with good results. Neal started the first time and that didn't go well against Oklahoma City. His scoring was needed for the bench and Temple's defense was more important for a first unit that has been notorious for giving up three-point buckets. The Wizards are 2-1 with Temple starting for Beal.
- Wall's improved play coincides with him being healthy. He admitted before the game that he had sprained his right ankle in the fourth game of the season, a 102-99 win vs. the San Antonio Spurs. It explains the major dip he had in his play and now he's carrying the Wizards. Wall was averaging 27.6 points in December entering tonight's game and is shooting 55% (73 of 133) after Friday. He shot 10-for-18 in this one. Two of the five turnovers Wall were credited with were not his fault. On one he hit Gortat in the hands and he just lost it. On another, Gortat cut down the lane and was wide open when Wall threw it. Gortat wasn't looking. He had a layup.
- DeJuan Blair was a better fit in the fourth quarter than Gortat where he scored all of his five points. His bucket off a feed from Wall put the score at 97-90. He also slid in front of Evans to take charge and grabbed two offensive rebounds. It was a lot of work for just eight minutes.
Sessions kept the pressure up in Wall's absence. The fourth quarter began with Sessions, with his attacks on the basket, getting to the foul line four times in the first two minutes. The Wizards were able to build their lead to 86-77. Six of Sessions' points came from the charity stripe.
- The three-point defense of the Wizards still isn't what it needs to be. Granted, having to collapse on Davis accounts for part of what happened but the Pelicans shot 16 of 27 from three, or 59%, without Ryan Anderson who sat out with a virus. Evans and Holiday combined to start 10 of 13 from deep.