WASHINGTON - In the basketball-loving nation's capital area, the letter "W" stands for Wizards or Washington, but not wins -- not yet.
The Washington Wizards established a franchise-worst 0-9 start as the Indiana Pacers snapped a six-game road losing streak with a 96-89 win over the Wizards on Monday. Despite a furious second-half rally, Washington broke its previous mark of eight straight losses to open a season set during the truncated 2011-12 campaign.
David West scored a season-high 30 points and Roy Hibbert broke out of a prolonged slump with 20 points and 12 rebounds as the Pacers (5-7) held on despite blowing most of a 20-point, third-quarter lead against the NBA's only winless team.
Wizards' rookie Bradley Beal scored 17 of his team-high 18 points in the second half, including nine during an 18-2 third-quarter surge. Trailing 69-49 with 5:08 remaining in the quarter, the Wizards scored 16 consecutive points behind the backcourt combination of Beal and newly signed Shaun Livingston.
Trailing 71-67 entering the final quarter, the 19-year-old Beal continued attacking, scoring six early points, and Chris Singleton's runner with 3:30 remaining had the Wizards down 86-85. Fouled on the play, Singleton missed the potential tying free throw.
West, who shot 10 of 14 from the field and was perfect on 10 free throws, made consecutive jump shots, extending the Pacers' lead to 90-85 with two minutes remaining.
Behind a strong shooting first half and West's 10 points, Indiana led by as many as 19 points in the first half and held a 50-41 lead at intermission, only its second halftime lead this season.
Ranked next-to-last in the NBA in both scoring and field goal percentage -- ahead of only the Wizards in both categories -- the Pacers made six of their first seven shots, led by double digits less than five minutes in and led 28-13 after the first quarter.
Hibbert, whose prolonged slump dropped his shooting percentage entering the game to 37.2, made his first three attempts.
Meanwhile Washington's starters missed eight of 10 attempts, and collectively the Wizards shot 26.3 percent (5 of 19) without a single player scoring more than two points in the opening quarter.
Indiana shot 53.1 percent (17 of 32) in the half, extending the lead to 32-13, but also committed 15 turnovers. Crawford scored nine of his 11 first-half points in the second quarter as the Wizards pulled within seven before fouling Indiana with 2.2 seconds remaining, leading to a pair of D.J. Augustin free throws.
Notes: Beal, the third overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, finished 4 of 12 from the field...Indiana returns home to play New Orleans on Thanksgiving Eve. Washington plays at Atlanta on Wednesday...The two teams will not meet again until next year, Jan. 2 in Indiana.