The Pacers got the type of slow, low scoring game that they love to play. The Wizards were just better at it tonight. Washington dominated from start to finish in one of their most complete games of the year, a 91-78 victory at Verizon Center. Washington held Indiana to just 37 points in the first half, tied for the fewest first half points allowed all year, and just 35% shooting on the night. The Pacers also committed double the turnovers, 17-8. The third quarter was the big one, as the Wizards entered with a seven point lead and left with a commanding 18 point advantage. They closed the quarter on a 13-2 run and the fourth quarter was never competitive. The win is the first the Wizards have gotten this year over the Eastern Conference leading Pacers.
John Wall set the tone for this one with a couple of huge dunks in the first quarter and finished with 20 points and eight assists. Marcin Gortat went up against arguably the best defensive big man in the NBA and won his battle, finishing with 17 points and 12 boards, including four of those coming on the offensive end. He also held Hibbert to just eight points and two boards. Harrington and Webster led the second unit, finishing with 12 and 11 points respectively and both finishing as game-high +20s.
For the Pacers, George had 19 points while Stephenson had 13 points and 14 boards.
This was a big one as the Wizards came in losers of four out of five and desperately needing to get back on track. They'll go for two in a row against the Hawks tomorrow night. - Jacob Raim
We're closing in on #WizPacers tip here at Verizon Center (7pm).
We heard from Randy Wittman before the game who talked about the challenges of facing a team like Indiana:
The first thing he mentioned was pace, which should be a clue that his initial message to the team tonight will be to push the ball and not get into a half court game with this Pacers team. They love to slow the game down, throw the ball inside and play tough, physical basketball. The Wizards are at their best when they get up and down the floor and score in transition, so that will be a focus tonight. When they met the first time in Indiana, the Wizards had 0 fast break points. Needless to say, they'll need to score in transition if they are to win tonight's game.
Even if the Wizards do run, this one will be probably be played in the 80's or 90's, and the Wizards will need to bring out one of their best efforts of the season to pull off the upset tonight and get back in the win column.
The action kicks off at 7pm from Verizon Center. We'll be chatting on WashingtonWizards.com, so come join the conversation!
We've got a tough one tonight. The Eastern Conference leading Indiana Pacers are in town and are coming off an emotional win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
This will be a "dogfight", as Randy Wittman called it when asked about what to expect tonight. This is the top defensive team in the league and the Wizards have averaged 69.5 points per game in their previous two meetings with Indiana. The team talked about tonight's tough matchup after practice on Thursday:
We'll check back in during pregame warmups with more from Verizon Center.