INDIANAPOLIS (AP)Buddy Hield scored a season-high 28 points, Tyrese Haliburton had 23 points and 11 assists and the Indiana Pacers beat the Washington Wizards 121-111 on Friday night.
Hield made 12 of 19 shots, including four 3-pointers.
”Buddy is an underrated basketball player,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. ”He knows the game. He understands timing and movement. He drives it better than people think. When he’s tuned into it, he passes the ball extremely well. At the core, he’s a guy that’s a scorer. That’s who he is and we have to understand that and celebrate that. Tonight was a night where we needed him desperately.”
Bennedict Mathurin added 18 points, Oshae Brissett 16 and Myles Turner 14.
”Myles’ two 3s at the end were great and put the game away,” Carlisle said. ”I love the way Mathurin is playing right now. He’s playing with great poise. He’s aggressive and really playing the right way.”
Kristaps Porzingis led Washington with 29 points on 11-of-13 shooting. He had 20 points in the first half, hitting nine shots without a miss. Kyle Kuzma added 27 points, and Jordan Goodwin had 19.
The Pacers were able to limit Porzingis’ touches in the second half.
Haliburton said the Pacers didn’t change anything scheme-wise.
”We knew we had to play more physical,” Haliburton said.
The Wizards have lost five games in a row and eight of their last nine. The Pacers lead the season series 2-1 with a game remaining Feb. 11 at Washington.
The Pacers made 18 of 41 from 3-point range.
”Our overall effort was good,” Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. said about his short-handed team. ”I’m sure guys got fatigue but that’s no excuse, you have to close it out. Eighteen 3s is tough to overcome.”
Unseld said Porzingis was aggressive in the first half.
”He hit two 3s and his defense was turning into easy offense for him,” Unseld said.
After a first half with 14 lead changes, the Pacers led 69-65 at halftime. The Pacers and Wizards shot well in the first half with Indiana at 65% and Washington at 64.3%. For the game, Washington shot 53.2% and Indiana 51.2%
”When you consider the difficulty of a Western trip and coming back East, it’s a great win for us,” Carlisle said. ”Washington is a desperate team being without guys but the guys they have are all really good players.”
Wizards: Bradley Beal missed his second consecutive game with a hamstring injury. He was hurt early Sunday against the Los Angeles Lakers … Will Barton was sidelined with a left foot soreness.
Pacers: Isaiah Jackson was out with a sore left knee. . The Pacers played at home for the first time since Nov. 25 after a seven-game West trip, its longest trip in 36 years.
Wizards: Host Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night.
Pacers: Host Brooklyn on Saturday night.
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