The Wizards were up nine with 5:46 to go, but Paul George was not to be denied. He hit threes on the next two possessions for Indiana and scored 12 of their final 19 points down the stretch. The Wizards had one last chance with six seconds to go down three after George Hill sank just 1/2 free throws, but Trevor Ariza's pass for Beal was off the mark and that was the ballgame.
Paul George was simply a superstar in the second half, taking the Pacers offense in his own hands to lead the massive comeback. George scored 28 of his 39 in the second half, as the Wizards dominant second quarter was completely undone by a disastrous third. The Wizards entered the third quarter up by 17, but left it up by just one. It came down to the fourth quarter and George was the one who hit the big shots as the Wizards came up just short.
Wittman went to his bench much more in game 4, and it paid off as the Washington bench outscored their Indiana counterparts, 32-2. Washington started the game getting out on the run, with 18 transition points in the first half, but had zero in the second half as Indiana began to control the tempo. Indiana turned it over 18 times and were just 19/29 from the charity stripe, but compensated by hitting 10/22 from long distance and winning the rebounding battle. Both teams shot 45% from the field.
Washington was led by Bradley Beal who had yet another complete effort, with 20 points on 7/14 shooting, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Ariza scored 16 points, pulled down nine rebounds and had three steals. The veteran front line of Gooden and Harrington were dominant at times, and combined for 21 points and 10 boards. Nene and Wall did not control the game the way Washington needed them to, as they combined to shoot 9/25 and Wall committed five turnovers against seven assists.
Indiana got another big game from Roy Hibbert, as he scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds while their other big, David West, had 14 points and eight rebounds.
The series goes back to Indiana now, and Washington has their backs against the wall. The Wizards will of course need three straight wins to stave off elimination. Their first test will be game 5, Tuesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. - Jacob Raim
Halftime Update The Wizards turned a one point deficit at the first quarter break into a 17 point lead (55-38) at the half on the heels of an absolutely dominant second quarter. The closing moment of the half saw John Wall go coast to coast, with a behind the back move thrown in, to put the finishing touch on the Wizards best quarter of the postseason. Led by the vets Harrington, Miller and Gooden, Washington opened the second quarter on a 12-0 run and did not slow down. Harrington at one point scored six straight himself, playing some of his first major minutes of the postseason. The Wizards bench in general outscored the Pacers bench 19-2.
The offense has done a 180 since Friday, and a lot of it has to do with the pace of the game. After playing game 3 stuck in Indiana's slow it down mode, the Wizards turned on the jets and made a very conscious effort to get out and run. That resulted in 18 fast break points, and zero for Indiana. The Wizards shot 54.8% from the field and held the Pacers to just over 40%. Washington also dished out 12 assists in the half, after having just 10 the entirety of game 3. Finally, Washington missed just one free throw in that half, going 6/7.
While the bench started the big run, it was Ariza and Beal who did the heavy lifting in the scoring department. The two of them have a game-high 12 points, both on 4/6 shooting from the field. Wall didn't look like he was having much trouble with the eye, as he had six points and five assists. For Indiana, George led in the first half with 11 points and Hibbert had 10.
Second half coming up next from Verizon Center. - Jacob Raim
We're just moments away from Game 4 here at Verizon Center.
Red, white, and blue rally towels are littered throughout the arena as the giveaway tonight.
Red, white, & blue rally towels tonight! #dcRising #WizPacers https://t.co/3c9MJRwFsf
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) May 11, 2014
We also have a special guest on hand tonight, Redskins QB RGIII
Let's get this party started!
8pm tip on TNT, we'll be chatting on WashingtonWizards.com
Game 4 shootaround has come and gone and now we get to wait all day for an 8pm Sunday tip.
I liked it better last week where we got a nice early 1pm Sunday Game 4, but the schedule makers slated us for primetime tonight.
An 8pm start means we held our normal morning shootaround routine, and the guys talked about bouncing back tonight.
John Wall described the process he's going through right now to make sure his eye is ok tonight. There's no doubt he'll play, but the eye is causing him some discomfort and forcing him to wear a contact for the first time in his career. He said it affected his vision in the second half of Game 3, but doesn't expect it to cause any problems tonight with proper treatment:
I wouldn't expect that to have a big impact tonight, but it should be worth noting if Wall starts playing with his eye at some point during the game.
The team is still upbeat and won't let a poor performance in Game 3 get their spirits down. They are eager to get back on the court and show everyone that they are a much better team than the one that was held t 63 points on Friday.
Trevor Ariza was the star last Sunday with six 3-pointers in Game 4 of #WizBulls. Maybe he can replicate that performance tonight to give the Wiz that spark from beyond the arc.
Courtside with Ariza
More from Shootaround:
And from the opposition, the Pacers are now the team talking about being "greedy", which is a change in tune from after the Wizards had won Game 1 in Indy.
Paul George talked a lot about his matchup with Bradley Beal and gave Beal a lot of respect when saying he could take over the game by himself. After BB3 went off for 25 in Game 1, George has taken more assignments covering Beal and has given him some issues with his length.
David West also talked about how the Pacers made adjustments in Game 3 and will make a few more tonight as they look to take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Wizards:
Both teams are confident entering tonight's Game 4 and it will likely come down to which team executes and which team controls tempo that will decide the winner.
Tip-off is at 8pm on ESPN (Radio: 99.1 FM, 1500 AM).
Don't forget to watch the American Express Home Court Advantage pregame show on Monumental Network at 7:30!
We'll be live chatting from the arena at 8 and will check in with another update pregame.
There are two schools of thought after a game like last night. You can either burn the tape and forget it ever happened or watch it and learn from it. The Wizards chose the latter and came away probably feeling a little bit better than they did after the game ended. Head coach Randy Wittman said he liked a lot of the looks they got, the shots just weren't falling.
They turned the ball over too many times (17 turnovers/10 assists) and missed too many free throws (11/21), but Witt said he liked the pace for a good portion of the game and was very pleased with the defense. They'll just need to knock down shots in Game 4 like they've done all season:
Saturday was a shooting day, where guys had the choice to get in the gym and get shots up. So there wasn't any kind of formal on-court practice, but more a day to study film and start mentally preparing for what will be the biggest game of the year up to this point.
As good as the Wizards have played on the road, Game 4 on Sunday night (8pm | TNT) will be, for all intents and purposes, a "must-win," as the media like to call these games. The Wizards trail 2-1 in the series and head back to Indiana for Game 5 on Tuesday night. A win would even the series and put the pressure back on Indiana to protect home court, while a loss would put the Wiz on the brink of elimination.
But for now, all the Wizards are focused on is getting geared up for Game 4 and there's certainly no signs of panic from anyone within the organization.