Some strong play in the second half has helped the Washington Wizards find success on the road of late.
The Wizards continue a three-game trip Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans looking to win for the sixth time in their last seven away from home.
Washington (15-17) went into the break Tuesday at Charlotte leading 43-39 before breaking off a 17-0 run in the third quarter en route to a 97-83 victory.
Bradley Beal scored 21 points and Marcin Gortat added 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who held the Bobcats scoreless for over 6 minutes in the third and had at least 50 points in the second half for the fifth straight time on the road. They had 62 points after halftime in a 106-99 win at Boston on Dec. 21.
"For some reason when we hit the road we find the way to play the best way we need to play and find a way to win these games," point guard John Wall told the team's official website.
New Orleans (15-18), on the other hand, has not been playing well after the break. The Pelicans were outscored 64-39 in the second half against Miami on Tuesday, blowing an 11-point third-quarter lead in a 107-88 loss. It was the second time in the last four games they've given up at least 63 after halftime.
"(The Heat) had 64 points in the second half that's not good defense," coach Monty Williams said. "They made a lot of tough shots, but our guys as a whole have to grow up. We have to understand that when a team has a (first) half like that, they're going to turn up their pressure."
The loss closed a 1-3 road trip and was the team's first since announcing that forward Ryan Anderson, who averages 19.8 points, is out indefinitely because of a herniated disk.
However, Jason Smith returned against the Heat after the center missed seven of the previous eight games because of a left shoulder injury. He had eight points and four rebounds as a reserve.
The Pelicans should be eager to return home after a trip that closed with games against Indiana, which beat them 99-82 on Saturday, and the Heat. New Orleans has won four straight at home, averaging 107.5 points in those contests.
Guard Jrue Holiday has played his best ball of the season in front of the home crowd, scoring 17.4 per game and shooting 51.3 percent (20 of 39) from 3-point range compared to his road averages of 12.4 points and 27.0 percent from long range.
Holiday scored a season-high 31 points in the team's previous home game, a 110-98 win over Portland on Dec. 30.
The Wizards have won the last three overall meetings and three of the last four in New Orleans.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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