The Pacers really showed off their #1 defense in the NBA, holding the Wizards to their lowest scoring night of the year in a 93-66 victory. The Wizards shot just 32.1% from the field and 39.1% from the free throw line in the 27 point loss. The two teams were tied after a hard fought first quarter and the Wizards were still in at the half, down by eight. The Pacers really stifled the Wizards in the second half though, holding them to 29 points and outscoring them by 19. The Pacers defense was just so impressive, with the Wizards getting absolutely no easy buckets all night and constantly forcing the Wizards into shots they did not want to take. Indiana also dominated on the boards, outrebounding the Wizards 61-41. Beal led the Wizards with 17 points, Wall had 13 and Nene 12. The Pacers shot 44.6% from the field and were only 59.1% from the charity stripe as both teams struggled with free throws. David West led all scorers with 20 points on 9/13 shooting while CJ Watson scored 16 points on a perfect 6/6 shooting. - Jacob Raim
Checking back in from Bankers Life Fieldhouse where we await the second and final #WizPacers game to be played here this season. They'll meet again on March 28th in DC.
I got to listen to Frank Vogel's pregame availability and he had a lot of positive things to say about the Wizards.
He called the Wizards' backcourt one of the best in the NBA and referred to John Wall as an All-Star point guard. He also said that if Bradley Beal were healthy all season, he too would have a good shot at being an All-Star this season. All-Stars or not, the point was that he had a lot of respect for this Wizards backcourt. He also said that Randy Wittman doesn't get enough credit for the job he does coaching this team and was well aware that the team has won six of their last seven games on the road. What he could not believe was the fact that the Pacers held the Wizards to ZERO fast-break points in their last meeting in late November. For a team that has the "one-man fast break" in John Wall, that is a hard stat to believe. But, it's one of the reasons why the Pacers were able to rout the Wiz, 93-73.
If the Wizards are thinking upset tonight, they'll need to push the tempo and get some easy fast-break points.
And if the Wizards do pull off the upset, it will be the franchise's first sweep of a roadtrip three games or longer since the 1972-73 season when the team went 4-0 between January 9th - 16th.
Randy Wittman was just a kid then, but he'll be the one calling the shots tonight. Here's his pregame comments on tonight's game:
We fly back to DC after the game tonight and then have to start getting ready for #WizRockets tomorrow night at Verizon Center.
But, as they say, we'll take it one game at a time and first focus on giving the Pacers just their second home loss (17-1) of the season. The Live Chat kicks off at 7pm. We'll see you there.
I believe it was Willie Nelson who sang, "On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again." That may as well be a theme song for the Wizards, as they have now won six of seven away from home over the last three weeks.
The strange part? They've lost six of seven at home over the same stretch. Sometimes sports can be funny.
What may be even more bizarre is that this Wizards team went 7-34 on the road last season. After this hot stretch, they are now 9-9 this season. While I think it's safe to think the Wizards won't play .857 ball on the road all season, if they can finish the year around .500 on the road, that would be a success.
The wizards began the week in Charlotte and beat the Bobcats. Then they went to New Orleans to beat the Pelicans. Which brings them to Indianapolis.
Tonight, they'll be put to the ultimate test as they get the NBA's best home team; the Indiana Pacers. They've lost just one time all season here at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. A 17-1 home record is impressive and it all starts with their defense.
They are without a doubt the best defensive team in the league (click here for more in Game Preview). Head coach Frank Vogel preaches defense and has his entire team bought in to his system. They also have the personnel and makeup of a great defensive team, which all adds up to why they have the #1 defense in the league.
John Wall talks #WizPacers with Casey Phillips at shootaround:
After shootaround this morning, Kevin Seraphin stayed late to get some extra work in with player development coach Joe Connelly. I helped out with entry passes and then fouling him while he would dunk. The lesson I learned? He is a strong man. That's it from Bankers Life Fieldhouse, we'll be back in a few hours for #WizPacers.