WASHINGTON -- Markieff Morris had a clear path to the basket in the first quarter and dunking on his mind. Yet the big man missed and the ball clanked off the rim, soaring into the air. Instead of bouncing away, the ball kissed the top of the backboard, fell straight down, rattled around the rim and through the net. Some say it's better to be lucky than good. These days, the Washington Wizards are both.
Morris finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards (32-21), who have won two straight and eight of nine. Bradley Beal scored 20 points in a matchup against two of the NBA's hottest teams.
Washington had won 17 straight home games and seven in a row overall before losing a thrilling 140-135 overtime matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.
Morris sat out Washington's 114-110 overtime road win against the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday with a calf injury. The rest did him good as the starting power forward hit 11 of 18 shots with three 3-pointers and one fortuitous dunk.
Asked if he's ever had a jam like that, Morris said, "It's like this year. We're making all types of shots. I got lucky."
There also winning all kinds of games. The Wizards are 16-3 since Jan. 6.
"It was incredible. We wanted to come back out and get on track," Beal said. "We just wanted to come back home and make sure we got off to an even better start. Get our streak back on."
Paul George scored 31 points for the Pacers (29-24). Indiana, which led by as many as nine points in the first half, also had a seven-game winning streak ended by Cleveland this week. The Pacers fell 132-117 at home to the Cavaliers on Wednesday.
Washington won at Indiana 111-105 on Dec. 28. Since then the Wizards (16-5) and Pacers (14-5) had the second and third best overall records behind the Golden State Warriors entering Friday.
Marcin Gortat had 14 points and 16 rebounds -- eight on the offensive glass -- for the Wizards and to the annoyance of Pacers coach Nate McMillan.
"We got to make plays. Going down the stretch, they pounded us on the boards," McMillan said. "You got to man up in the paint. Box out. Go get the ball. Late in the game, Gortat just pretty much dominated the paint."
George concurred with McMillan's assessment.
"We're just not tough enough," Indiana's All-Star forward said. "This has been an issue for us all season long. We're really struggling. We're just not tough enough. Got to get grittier. We've got to get nasty on these boards. We're just not tough enough."
Washington led most of the fourth quarter, but couldn't shake Indiana until Morris drained a 3-pointer off a drive-and-kick feed from Wall for a 108-102 lead with 50.6 seconds remaining.
"He had a great game," Washington coach Scott Brooks said of Morris. "He did a lot of great things on both ends."
Wall's two free throws with 5.8 seconds remaining sealed the Wizards' second win in three games against the Pacers this season.
Kevin Seraphin scored 16 points for the Pacers against his former team, and Jeff Teague had 13.
Washington, third in the NBA in field goal percentage, has scored at least 100 points in 20 straight games.
Indiana shot 58.1 percent from the field in the first half, but finished at 48.9 percent. The Pacers shot 3 of 18 from beyond the arc.
George scored 14 points early, but the Pacers let their first-half lead slip away before halftime. Morris had nine of his 15 first-half points in the second quarter, including a layup in the closing seconds to tie the score 59-59.
The loss dropped Indiana three games behind third-seeded Washington in the Eastern Conference standings. Another matchup comes Thursday at home in the final game for both teams before the All-Star break.
"It will help prep us if we can get playoff tested, battle tested," George said. "To win and pick up some of these games headed into the playoffs we will be right where we need to be."
They just need to get tougher, and perhaps a bit luckier.
NOTES: The Wizards assigned F Danuel House to the Delaware 87ers ahead of Friday's game. The undrafted rookie has only played one game for Washington after missing most of the season with a wrist injury. ... Washington and Indiana ranked first and second in opponent's turnovers entering Friday's game. Each team committed only 11 turnovers, but G John Wall had seven for Washington. ... Indiana returns home to face the Milwaukee Bucks Saturday for the second of four head-to-head matchups. The Pacers lost 125-107 at Milwaukee on Nov.3. ... Washington hosts Oklahoma City on Monday. The Thunder won the first meeting 126-115 in overtime on Nov. 30.