Bradley Beal walked to the bench at the end of the third quarter flexing his muscles at BankersLife Fieldhouse. The Wizards did it almost from start to finish in a blowout win to atone for one of their worst losses with a 118-104 victory Friday.
The win moved the Wizards (19-19) back to .500 for the first time since Nov. 25 and matched their season-high win streak with four in a row.
John Wall (28 points, eight assists, seven rebounds) led five players in double figures, followed by Bradley Beal (22 points, five rebounds), Gary Neal (12 points), DeJuan Blair (12 points, six rebounds, two steals) and Ramon Sessions (10 points, five assists, two steals).
Paul George (21 points) and George Hill (19 points) led Indiana (22-18).
The Wizards exploded for a 35-point second quarter to break open a close game and lead by double digits the rest of the way. Wall was the only starter to score in double figures, with Nene (eight points, eight rebounds) and Kelly Oubre (seven points, four rebounds) being the closest. Drew Gooden (eight points, four rebounds) was efficient in 17 minutes.
Otto Porter (right hip) didn't play as Oubre made his sixth start as a rookie.
- The Nene effect is real. For the third game in a row as the starter, he has produced and his presence alone improves their rebounding even if he's not getting any credit for it. The Wizards had season highs in total rebounds (54) and offensive rebounds (17). No one had more than eight rebounds and five of them had at least six.
- The extra pass is being made and with Beal on the floor he's the recipient of nothing but clean looks. Wall had a wide-open look on the pass out from Nene, pump-faked, sent it to Beal in the corner for a three. Then it was Wall to Nene inside and out to Beal for another corner 3. The score was 107-89 at that point. But it was about more than threes. Instead of moving laterally, pounding the ball and running out the clock, Beal put pressure on the defense with his dribble, attacked the rim and hit pull-ups as he banked in runners off the glass when Wall was off the floor. With Lavoy Allen on him, Beal isolated the mismatch, broke him down and knocked down a floater from the baseline. Coming off the bench to control his minutes (22) gives the Wizards another shot creator with the second unit, and based on the way this has started there's no reason to change anything for the sake of change.
- Quietly, Blair has come on in spot duty as the backup to Nene with Marcin Gortat (left knee) out. Blair has shot 11 of 17 in the last three games and did a good job with moving the ball to find open cutters. Last season, Blair wouldn't have been able to make the spin move he put on Ian Mahinmi to get to the rim for a layup. Coach Randy Wittman has opted for small lineups when the Wizards have been thin in the middle, but against the Pacers he wisely went with Blair instead.
- George and C.J. Miles made 15 of 17 three-pointers in a Nov. 24 win at Verizon Center. In that game, Kris Humphries, who missed this game with a sore right knee, was lost in space matching up with Miles. Jared Dudley started in this one and Miles was a non-factor. He combined with George to shoot 1 of 9 from three, 42 points less. As shooting goes, that game was an aberration. The Wizards' roster top to bottom is better and should win this matchup more than they lose.
- Garrett Temple went down with a strained right shoulder but returned and made his only shot of the game -- a three-pointer -- to push the lead to 44-31 as the Wizards created separation. Temple's ball pressure and harassment of the Pacers on the perimeter was key to their offense never getting on track. He also fought George for every inch, drawing an offensive foul on him while fronting the mid-post. George, an early-season MVP candidate, missed 13 of 19 shots.