Preview: Washington At Indiana
When: 7:00 PM ET, Friday, January 15, 2016
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
The Washington Wizards have suddenly found their footing again with a three-game winning streak and got a major piece back in the lineup on Wednesday. The Wizards will try to make it four straight and improve to .500 when they visit the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
Bradley Beal (stress reaction) was the most devastating of a series of injuries that crippled Washington last month, and the star guard finally returned from a 16-game absence in a 106-101 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. “I just took my time with this injury,” Beal, who recorded 11 points in 23 minutes off the bench, told reporters. “I definitely wanted to make sure I was 100 percent before I got back out here.” The Pacers are battling through some inconsistency and dropped a 103-94 decision at Boston on Wednesday to fall to 6-8 in the last 14 games. Indiana is making a brief stop at home before hitting the road for a four-game trip and the team is 13-5 in its own building.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington), FSN Indiana
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (18-19): Beal re-entered the lineup just as Marcin Gortat (illness) was headed out. Gortat had to be hospitalized and was given intravenous antibiotics in an effort to fight an infection in his left knee. The starting center’s absence was mitigated in part by the recent return to the lineup of another player that missed most of the last month, and Nene (calf) delivered 12 points, two blocks and three steals in Wednesday’s triumph.
ABOUT THE PACERS (22-17): Indiana sandwiched a pair of road losses around a home win over lowly Phoenix in its last three games and is working on executing better down the stretch. “That’s what it comes down to with us, trying to win these close games we got to execute every detail on the offensive end, we got to get the ball where we want to get the ball, deep cut, break open, set our screens and take care of the basketball,” coach Frank Vogel told reporters. “We didn’t do that (against the Celtics) and it cost us.” The Pacers committed 20 turnovers in their most recent loss, including four in the final 2:33.
1. Wizards backup PG Ramon Sessions averaged 15.5 points on 12-of-21 shooting in the last two games.
2. The Pacers went 5-of-30 from 3-point range on Wednesday, including a combined 0-of-14 from C.J. Miles and Monta Ellis.
3. Paul George scored 40 points in Indiana’s 123-106 win at Washington on Nov. 24.
PREDICTION: Pacers 101, Wizards 97