WASHINGTON (AP) – For the second straight game, the Indiana Pacers prevailed on the road over a potential playoff rival, even if it wasn’t always pleasing to the eye.
Victor Oladipo scored 33 points and Bojan Bogdanovic added 20 as the Pacers defeated the Washington Wizards 98-95 on Sunday despite nearly giving back a 17-point lead.
They nearly did the same thing Friday night in Milwaukee.
“We’re going to have to grind it out the rest of the year,” said Oladipo, who helped Indiana move into fourth in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of Washington. “It’s playoff basketball the rest of the year.”
Myles Turner added 12 points and 13 rebounds for Indiana, which finished its four-game road trip 2-2 after beginning it with two losses.
Cory Joseph added 16 points while also guarding Washington’s leading scorer, Bradley Beal, most of the night. Beal finished with 22 points but shot just 8 of 27.
“It was a team effort to guard him,” Joseph said of Beal. “He missed a couple shots that he normally hits, which helped. But we did a good job.”
Beal added career-high 11 assists. But he missed three potential tying or go-ahead shots inside the final 19 seconds as the Wizards lost their third straight for the first time this season. Beal played nearly 43 minutes and admitted he was tired, but he said that was no excuse.
“You got to go all out,” Beal said. “I got to make them shots.”
As Washington fell to 10-6 in its extended stretch without All-Star point guard John Wall (knee surgery), Beal also committed two of his five turnovers on late possessions when the Wizards could have tied or taken the lead.
Otto Porter Jr. added 17 points as Washington dropped a spot to fifth place, a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers, who played later Sunday.
Washington climbed back into the game with a 12-0 run that began late in the third quarter and stretched into the fourth. Beal scored seven in that span, and then found Jodie Meeks for a 3-pointer that cut it to 80-75 with 9:44 left.
The Wizards eventually got within one before Beal missed a transition layup with Oladipo and Cory Joseph contesting to keep the score 96-95 with 19 seconds left.
From there, Oladipo and Joseph each hit one of two free throws, and Beal missed a game-tying jumper attempt on one possession before his look at a game-tying 3 fell short near the buzzer.
Afterward, Oladipo empathized with his opposing shooting guard.
“He was exhausted,” Oladipo said. “He played hard, did whatever he could to help his team try to win.”
NOT BEAL-ING IT
Beal has been Washington’s leading scorer even with Wall in the lineup. But he’s just 19 for 63 (30.2 percent from the floor) during Washington’s three-game skid, well off his 45.7-percent season average
Bogdanovic has had two of his 10 best scoring performances this season against the Wizards, for whom he played played 26 regular-season and 13 playoff games last season. His season high of 29 points came in a 111-102 home loss to Washington on Feb. 5.
Pacers: Are now 7-6 in the first game of back-to-back sets. … G Trevor Booker will join the team Monday in Indianapolis. The Pacers signed Booker Saturday after he was released by Philadelphia.
Wizards: Are now 2-3 in a stretch of 13 consecutive games against teams that entered Sunday in playoff position. … Coach Scott Brooks received a technical foul or arguing a no-call late in the first quarter after Beal missed a layup contested by Oladipo. … F Kelly Oubre sat out with a sore left foot.
Pacers: Begin a three-game homestand Monday against Milwaukee.
Wizards: Close out their four-game homestand against Miami on Tuesday.