- News in Photo
WASHINGTON (AFP) – With a host of scoring threats, the Washington Wizards have become one of the NBA’s hottest teams, showing their scoring depth Thursday in a 111-98 rout of struggling Indiana.
Otto Porter Jr had 25 points and eight rebounds, Markieff Morris added 21 points and seven rebounds, all-star John Wall contributed 20 points and 12 assists while Bradley Beal had 19 points as the Wizards led all the way.
“We have a lot of threats and it’s hard to key on any one guy,” Beal said. “We are enjoying this. Winning like this is fun.
“We are playing with a lot of energy and we don’t care who is scoring or anything like that. We enjoy playing for each other.”
The Wizards improved to 34-21, shooting 51.8 percent from the floor in inflicting the Pacers’ sixth loss in a row.
“We have been looking real good for the last few months,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “I think we are in a good spot, but I think the thing I love about this group is that they are not satisfied.
“We know we have a lot of work ahead of us. A tough part of our schedule is coming up. We are going to go into it with the right focus and challenge.
“We’re not going to win all of them, but we have to stick together when we don’t,” he said. “Our guys have done that.”
The Wizards – who currently force the most opponent turnovers per game, averaging 15.6 – rank third in the Eastern Conference after their ninth victory in 10 games.
“We are looking at the big picture,” Morris said. “We still have a lot of season to go.”
“We have to make sure guys are working out over the All-Star break. We just have to stay ready.”
Myles Turner and Paul George each had 17 points to lead the Pacers – now 29-28 and sixth in the East – one game ahead of the Chicago Bulls, who edged visiting Boston 104-103 in Thursday’s only other game.
The Bulls made all 22 of their free throw attempts, with Jimmy Butler sinking a pair with .9 of a second remaining to lift Chicago (28-29) to victory.
Bulls scoring leader Butler, 9-for-9 from the free throw line on the night, drew a foul on Marcus Smart off a jump shot on the Bulls’ final possession.
Boston’s Al Horford missed a fadeaway jumper as time expired.
Butler scored 29 points and had seven assists for the Bulls.
The Celtics, 37-20 and second overall in the East, were led by Isaiah Thomas with 29 points, including the Celtics’ final 11 points.
Thomas scored 20 or more points for the 41st consecutive game, breaking a franchise record previously held by Hall of Famer John Havlicek.