Pelicans fall short against Wizards in summer finale

LAS VEGAS — The New Orleans Pelicans were four points down just before Brian Roberts banked in a 60-foot 3-point basket at the buzzer.

The extremely long last-ditch shot didn’t tie the score against the Washington Wizards, as Dennis Horner sank a late free throw moments
earlier to clinch the win.

The No. 12-seeded Wizards defeated the No. 11 Pelicans 78-77 in a consolation finale for both teams Friday in the NBA Summer League.

The Wizards owned a six-point lead in the closing minutes, but Darius Miller almost tied the score at 77. His 3-point attempt went in and out with 1:02 left, and Horner followed with his free throw, which proved to be the game-winning point.

With that, the Pelicans finished their Summer League schedule with a loss. But until the final horn, they were still working.

“That’s the New Orleans way, basically,” said Roberts, who added that the coaching staff “kind of instilled in all of us; that we’re a ‘work’ team, and don’t give up until it’s over with. That’s just me trying to hit a shot, and it went in.”

Austin Rivers, the No. 10 overall pick in last year’s draft, led the Pelicans with 23 points.

Miller was next with 15 and Roberts followed with 13. Sundiata Gaines came off the bench to lead the Wizards with 15 points, while rookie Glen Rice Jr. added 14 and Chris Singleton had 11.

But Summer League coach Bryan Gates lamented some of the Pelicans’ missed opportunities — especially around the basket.

“Coach (Monty) Williams’ culture (is), we’re going to give you what we got,” Gates said. “We’re going to give you what we’ve got; we always do. We couldn’t get a defensive rebound. I think we gave up three of them at the end, two of them really late. So that was the disappointing part.”

The Wizards went on a 12-0 run to start the third quarter and claim a 50-43 lead. Rice had five consecutive points during the run for Washington. The Pelicans did score the next eight points to take a 51-50 lead, but the Wizards responded with a 7-2 run to close out the quarter.

Five straight points by Rivers, on a driving layup and three-point play, gave the Pelicans a 39-35 lead with 3:04 left in the second quarter.

After baskets by Miller and Rivers, the Pelicans were able to claim a 43-38 halftime lead. In total, Rivers scored 11 points in the second quarter.

In the first half, Rivers had 15 points on 6-for-6 shooting, and Miller scored 10 on 5-for-7 shooting.