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Pelicans get rare road win over Wizards

Jan 9, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA;  Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura (8) makes a move to the basket during the first half against the New Orleans Pelicans at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

CJ McCollum scored 34 points, Jonas Valanciunas had a double-double and the visiting New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Washington Wizards 132-112 on Monday night.

Valanaciunas finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds, Naji Marshall scored 18 points, and Devonte’ Graham and Jose Alvarado 10 each came off the bench for 11 and 10 points respectively for the Pelicans, who had a season-high point total despite playing without their top two scorers — Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, who are injured.

It was New Orleans’ first victory in Washington in 12 years.

Kristaps Porzingis had 23 points and 10 rebounds, Kyle Kuzma scored 19 points, Corey Kispert had 17 and Daniel Gafford and Monte Morris added 13 each as all five starters scored in double figures while leading scorer Bradley Beal was sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Despite the absence of their top scorers, both teams shot better than 50 percent from the floor.

Kuzma scored six quick points as Washington trimmed a 12-point halftime deficit to 70-67 early in the third quarter.

The Wizards got within three points again before the Pelicans scored 10 straight to open an 83-70 lead.

The lead grew to 93-75 on a dunk by Jaxson Hayes before New Orleans took a 100-88 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Marshall converted a three-point play and Graham made two 3-pointers as the Pelicans scored the first 15 points of the fourth quarter to expand the lead to 115-88.

The Pelicans, who fell behind 19 points at the end of the first quarter in a loss at Dallas on Saturday, watched the Wizards score the first 10 points, which included a pair of 3-pointers by Kispert.

But McCollum, who missed Saturday’s game to rest, scored 14 points in 3 1/2 minutes and New Orleans grabbed a 24-20 lead.

Kuzma scored 13 points in the final three minutes and Washington held a 37-35 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Valanciunas scored 14 and Marshall added eight as the Pelicans outscored the Wizards 33-19 in the second quarter to take a 68-56 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media