Final Score: Wizards 102 Pacers 79 The third quarter had been the Achilles heel for Washington during this series against Indiana. Not in game 5. The Wizards won the third quarter 31-14, on their way to beating the Pacers and avoiding elimination in Indiana 102-79. The Pacers lead the series 3-2 as the series shifts back to Washington for game 6. During game 5, Marcin Gortat didn't play in the fourth quarter and John Wall was accused of being too passive. To say they responded in a big way would be an understatement. Both set playoff career-highs in points, as Gortat scored 31 on 11/13 shooting and pulled down 16 boards, while Wall scored 27 on 11/20 shooting.
The Wizards dominated the Pacers in all facets, but there was no area Washington dominated more than the boards. Washington outrebounded Indiana by an astonishing 62-23 margin. Gortat had 16 boards, Ariza had 10, Gooden had nine and Beal eight, as no Pacer had more than six. The Wizards also shot the ball much better than the Pacers, 50% to 39%. The rebounding and shooting compensated for the fact that Washington turned the ball over 19 times.
After being led by the bench for much of the way during game 4, it was the starters who did the heavy lifting in game 5. The bench scored 12 points, with the first bench point not coming until the Wizards were up by 25 in the fourth quarter. Besides the big performances from Gortat and Wall, Ariza and Beal both had nice nights as well. Ariza had a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards while Beal scored 18.
For the Pacers, Paul George came back to earth after his unbelievable game 4 performance, scoring 15 points on 5/15 shooting. David West led Indiana with 17 points and six rebounds.
The series moves back to Washington, which might be good and might be bad. Conventional logic states that you want to play at home, but the Wizards have been better on the road this postseason. Game 6 is Thursday night and the Wizards will have their backs against the wall again. - Jacob Raim
Halftime Update The Wizards have another nice lead at the half, tonight they'll have to hang onto it to live another day. Washington closed the half on a 17-6 run to head into the half up seven, 45-38. The rebounding edge in the first half told the story, as the outrebounded Indiana by an astounding 32-11 margin. The only thing keeping the wizards from being up by even more was turnovers and three point shooting. Washington turned it over 12 times which led to 14 Indiana points and shot just 1/10 from beyond the arc.
Marcin Gortat was simply dominant in the first half, just two nights after not being able to get on the court in the fourth quarter of game 4. Gortat recorded a double-double in the first half, going for 17 points on 8/10 shooting and 11 rebounds. John Wall looked like a different player as well, attacking the Indiana defense for 10 points, five rebounds and three assists. Beal also had 10 points, including Washington's only three of the half. The bench, which carried Washington for much of game 4, did not get on the scoresheet in the first half.
West led Indiana with 10 points, including a three with just a second to play in the half to cut into Washington's momentum just a little bit. Paul George had eight in the first half, after going for 39 in game 4.
Second half, with the Wizards playing for their playoff lives, coming up next. - Jacob Raim
Less than an hour until Game 5 gets underway here in Indiana.
"Backs against the wall" "Do-or-die" "Win-or-go-home"..... All the lines are out there for this elimination game for the Wiz.
We'll be flying to DC after the game either way, the question is will the Pacers be joining us? That will be known around 9:30 tonight (pending OT) at the conclusion of tonight's Game 5.
Randy Wittman talked to the media just before Game 5 and is looking for someone to step up tonight. Who will that be? On this Wizards team, it could be really be anyone. But it could take a special performance from an individual to carry the Wiz to a victory tonight.
Here's some more of the pregame scene here at Bankers Life:
The Live Chat begins at 7pm where we'll be chatting just feet away from the Wizards bench. Come say hello and buckle up for Game 5 of #WizPacers!
An elimination game.
The first for this group as they continue their trek through the 2014 playoffs.
The Wizards grabbed Game 1 in Indiana and looked to be the better of the two teams. But, the battle tested Pacers responded by taking games two, three, and four, to take a 3-1 series lead.
Other than the blowout in Game 3, the other three games really could have gone either way and the Wizards know they are just a few possessions away from being up 3-1 in the series. But, that really doesn't hold much bearing now because their season is on the line.
Despite being in the 3-1 hole, the team's confidence is still there and they were in high spirits at shootaround this morning.
They have the right group of veterans who have been through these battles and know what it takes to battle back.
Hear from some of the guys at shootaround:
The action kicks off at 7pm tonight on TNT.
We'll be live chatting on WashingtonWizards.com starting at tip-off.
A do-or-die Game 5 tonight from Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indiana.