NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis gave the Pelicans’ latest lineup tweak a ringing endorsement.
Davis had 28 points and 15 rebounds as New Orleans stemmed a four-game slide with an up-tempo 125-104 victory over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry adjusted his starting five by inserting Tim Frazier at point guard and moving Jrue Holiday to shooting guard, where he could focus more on finding his shot than running the offense.
“We had a hell of a game tonight,” Davis said. “It was a good game to see how we like to play and get back to how we played earlier in the year. When Tim’s in that lineup, he’s pushing the ball and lets Jrue be Jrue.”
Holiday scored 29 points, while Julius Randle added 23 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans. Frazier, who contributed 12 points and 12 assists, said his production resulted from not letting his recent lack of playing time discourage him from preparing hard for his next opportunity.
“Not everybody can be AD,” Frazier said, adding that playing time “comes and goes and your job as a player is to always be ready.”
Nikola Mirotic, who had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Pelicans, also gushed about Frazier.
“I saw a couple times he could shoot the ball but he wanted to pass,” Mirotic said. “That’s a great thing about him. He knows what he needs to do and what we need.”
Kelly Oubre Jr. and Markieff Morris each scored 22 for the Wizards, who trailed by 20 at halftime and never got closer than 11 after that.
John Wall added 17 points, while Bradley Beal had 16 points and 11 assists for Washington, which struggled to match the Pelicans’ pace or presence under the basket.
New Orleans outrebounded Washington 64-38 and turned 17 offensive rebounds into 28 second-chance points. The Pelicans also outscored Washington 62-38 in the paint and 26-8 on fast-break points.
“Our effort just wasn’t good tonight. Without the ball, we didn’t help each other out and our transition was terrible. As to why, I don’t really know,” Beal said. “It’s a little frustrating, but it’s fixable. It’s just a matter of getting used to those good habits.”
Wizards: Lost to New Orleans for the first time in seven meetings and only the second time in 15. … Wall was assessed a technical foul late in the third quarter for bickering with officials after he was called for a hack on Holiday’s transition layup attempt. … Jeff Green had 10 points.
Pelicans: Mirotic is 14 of 28 from 3-point range in his last four games after going 3 of 8 against Washington. … New Orleans improved to 9-2 at home, but plays its next two on the road, where the Pelicans are 2-9. … The Pelicans committed 20 turnovers, down only two from Monday’s loss to Boston, but their scoring was up and they largely controlled the game while also forcing 16 Wizards turnovers.
The Pelicans had looked disjointed and turnover-prone during their recent losing streak. Holiday was playing point guard because the usual starter at that spot, Elfrid Payton, is out with a broken finger.
Frazier’s insertion began paying dividends early. Holiday, who committed eight turnovers Monday against Boston, had 16 points and one turnover in the first half versus Washington.
“We did a good job of getting back to who we were,” Gentry said, alluding to his team’s 4-0 start, during which it averaged 128.3 points.
Even with Davis starting 3 of 10 for nine points in the first half, New Orleans opened up a 20-point lead. The Pelicans closed the first half on a 21-7 run, beginning with Frazier’s transition layup and 3-pointer.
Later, Holiday pounced on a deflected ball at the top of the key and immediately floated it down the lane to where Davis could convert an alley-oop layup off the glass.
Randle closed out the run with a layup as he was fouled and a tip-in of Darius Miller’s missed 3, making it 67-47 at halftime.
“Everybody stepped up and came in and contributed and it just made my job easy,” Frazier said.
“Of course, Jrue likes to play off the ball. He’ll tell you every day of the week he wants to play off the ball,” Davis said. “He knows where his strengths are. He hates playing the point. He’s not a point guard.”
Wizards: Visit Philadelphia on Friday night.
Pelicans: Visit Miami on Friday night.
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