- Associated Press - Friday, March 9, 2018

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Otto Porter Jr.’s sore right hip didn’t appear to bother him when he drilled a 19-foot jumper from the corner just 23 seconds into Friday night’s game in New Orleans.

He also looked pain-free when he hit a reverse layup, a 6-foot floater, a 10-foot fade and a 27-foot 3-pointer that helped Washington build a big early lead and allowed Porter to relax on the bench for most of the second half.

Porter scored 19 points in 26 minutes, and the Wizards cruised to a 116-97 victory over the Pelicans, who couldn’t overcome the absence of All-Star Anthony Davis and had their 10-game winning streak snapped.

“I was able to attack the rim a couple times, get easy jump shots, kind of get our team going, build out a lead,” Porter said. “I was just trying to get up and down the court, move a little bit and felt great.”

Porter’s hip has bothered him intermittently this season and he checked out of a victory in Miami in Washington’s previous game on Tuesday night after a collision with Dwyane Wade.

“Taking a hit like that really locked everything up, but I was able to get with my training staff and we were able to come up with a plan,” Porter said.

Markieff Morris scored 17 and Bradley Beal added 16 for the Wizards, who led by as many as 27 points en route to their second straight victory.

The 6-foot-10 Davis sprained his left ankle in Sacramento on Wednesday night and was scratched against Washington after attempting some basketball drills before the game.

Without Davis’ ability to affect opponents’ shots or prolong Pelicans possessions with offensive rebounds, New Orleans looked overmatched on the boards. Washington outrebounded New Orleans 49-38, and converted 10 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance points.

The Pelicans managed just two offensive rebounds and four second-chance points.

Darius Miller scored 20 points and Cheick Diallo a season-high 14 for the Pelicans, who’ll hope to have Davis back for their next game against Utah.

Jrue Holiday, who averages 19.4 points, was held to four points on 2-of-8 shooting while constantly contending with multiple defenders.

“He just struggled. They did a good job of walling in and not letting him have the usual drives that he had,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “We didn’t get into that flow where he can catch the ball and do some things with it.”

Nikola Mirotic also labored through a sharp downturn in production from his 26-point outburst in the Pelicans’ previous game in Sacramento. After making 10 of 12 shots - including four 3s - against the Kings, Mirotic shot 3 of 11 against Washington - including 0 of 4 from deep - and finished with nine points.

The Pelicans also missed 14 of 20 3-point attempts.

New Orleans fell behind by 19 points during a dismal first half in which the Pelicans missed all 10 of their 3-point attempts, turned the ball over 10 times and did not have an offensive rebound.

Porter scored 16 during the first half. His 3 made it 50-33 late in the second quarter.

“We need that out of him,” Beal said. “Whenever he’s healthy, it’s a beautiful thing for us.”

The Wizards took their largest lead late in the third quarter, when Beal’s five straight points on a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws capped an 11-0 run that made it 77-50.


Wizards: Swept the season series and have now defeated New Orleans in five straight and 12 of 13. … Improved to 26-7 when outrebounding an opponent. … Came in averaging 34.5 points per game from reserves and got 50 in New Orleans, including 14 from Mike Scott, 11 from Kelly Oubre Jr. and 10 from Jodie Meeks. … Oubre, a New Orleans native, arrived at the game wearing the Saints jersey of running back Alvin Kamara, who attended the game. Oubre scored 11 points.

Pelicans: Fell to 3-4 without Davis in the lineup, but all three victories came before All-Star DeMarcus Cousins went out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon on Jan. 26. This marked the first game New Orleans played without either Cousins or Davis this season. … Failed to score 100 for the first time since their last loss, 100-86 in Philadelphia on Feb. 9.


Playing the first of back-to-back games this weekend, the Wizards were pleased to be able the limit starters Beal, Porter, Morris and Marcin Gortat each to less than 30 minutes on the court.

“It’s real important for us,” Beal said. “That means we took care of business and got the lead to where we felt we could rest our bodies and take advantage of it.”


Wizards: At Miami Saturday night.

Pelicans: Host Utah Sunday afternoon.


More AP basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

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