Daniel Gafford scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the visiting Washington Wizards defeated the sliding New Orleans Pelicans 113-103 on Saturday for their fifth win in a row.
Bradley Beal added 16 points (including nine in the fourth quarter), Deni Avdija scored 15, Corey Kispert and Kendrick Nunn had 12 each and Kyle Kuzma and Monte Morris had 10 apiece as part of the Wizards’ balanced scoring.
CJ McCollum scored 24, Brandon Ingram scored 22 and Trey Murphy III added 10 to lead the Pelicans, who lost their seventh consecutive game.
The season series finished at one victory each as the Wizards clamped down on defense just 19 days after the Pelicans produced a season-high point total in a 132-112 victory at Washington.
Kispert made one 3-pointer and Kuzma sank two as the Wizards extended their nine-point halftime lead to 13 early in the third quarter.
Ingram answered with a three-point play and Herbert Jones added a layup to pull the Pelicans within 74-66.
Nunn scored five points near the end of the third quarter as Washington increased its lead to 88-74 entering the fourth.
Larry Nance Jr.’s layup completed a 12-1 run that got New Orleans within five points with 5:18 to go, but Beal answered with a three-point play and a 3-pointer for a 103-94 lead with 2:47 left.
Ingram, who made just 4 of 18 shots on Wednesday in his first game back from a 29-game absence, made his first three shots and the Pelicans twice led by six points in the early going. Ingram finished 8 of 22 from the floor.
The first quarter featured seven lead changes and three ties. Avdija and Nunn made consecutive 3-pointers to help the Wizards hold a 32-30 lead at the end of the period.
New Orleans took a one-point lead early in the second quarter before center Jonas Valanciunas was called for a flagrant-2 foul and ejected after his elbow caught the head of Wizards center Taj Gibson.
Gafford scored six points as Washington opened a nine-point lead, and the Wizards were up 59-50 at halftime after Delon Wright beat the second-quarter buzzer with a layup.