Game Rewind: Pacers 104, Wizards 118
The Indiana Pacers entered Friday night’s contest against the banged-up Washington Wizards hoping to pick up a much-needed win before embarking on a four-game Western Conference road trip. But the Pacers’ defense let them down, as Indiana (22-18) fell to Washington (19-19) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 118-104.
Washington shot 52 percent on the night as John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 50 points on 21-of-36 shooting in the victory.
“They took the fight to us,” Paul George said after the loss. “It was like they (were) comfortable from the get go. You can’t do that, you can’t let a team get comfortable.”
The Pacers fell into an early hole, thanks to a bevy of turnovers and failure to protect the defensive glass. Indiana committed five turnovers and allowed the Wizards to collect five offensive rebounds over the first five-plus minutes, as Washington jumped out to an early 11-4 lead.
The Wizards led by as many as nine, but the Blue & Gold quickly clawed back thanks to some hot shooting. The Pacers knocked down 11-of-17 shots in the first quarter (64.7 percent) and led 27-24 after the period.
Indiana found a lot of success attacking the paint, with Paul George scoring eight points in the first quarter and backup big men Myles Turner and Lavoy Allen combining for 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting. All told, the Pacers tallied 20 points in the paint in the first quarter alone.
But the Pacers couldn’t sustain their hot shooting in the second quarter. Indiana missed 10 of its first 11 shots to open the period as Washington reeled off a 15-2 run to take a double-digit lead.
George Hill finally got the offense clicking again — the Hometown Hero scored all of his 12 first-half points over the final 6:08 before halftime — but seemingly every time the Pacers scored, the Wizards’ All-Star backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal had an answer. Thanks in large part to that duo, Washington racked up 35 points in the second quarter alone.
The Pacers weren’t able to make any major halftime adjustments, as the Wizards maintained and even extended their lead over the final two quarters. Washington led by 16 points heading into the fourth and as many as 19 on the night. Indiana never got within single digits after halftime.
“It’s not one player or one play that loses the game,” Hill said. “I think it was a team effort and we didn’t deserve to win tonight.”
George led the Pacers with 21 points, five rebounds, and seven assists, though he made just 6-of-19 shots overall and 1-of-7 from 3-point range. Hill added 19 points and eight rebounds, while Monta Ellis chipped in 17. Allen joined them in double figures, scoring a season-high 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
Wall, however, dominated the game, racking up 28 points on 12-of-21 shooting, seven rebounds, and eight assists.
“That’s the head of the snake,” George said. “I feel like he got going and really put the confidence in all those players. John is a player that makes his teammates better.”
Beal, in just his second game back after missing a month with a stress reaction in his right leg, had 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range.
The Wizards also dominated the glass, outrebounding Indiana 54-35 overall and 17-6 on the offensive end.
The Pacers now hit the road for a tough four-game road trip, which begins Sunday night in Denver, a venue where Indiana hasn’t won since Nov. 2007. Indiana will also visit Phoenix, Golden State, and Sacramento before returning to Indianapolis to host the Los Angeles Clippers on Jan. 26.
Inside the Numbers
Allen’s 15 points were his most ever as a member of the Pacers. His previous high was 14 and his career high is 20, recorded while playing for Philadelphia in 2013.
Turner made a couple baskets in the final minutes of the game to get to double figures, finishing with 10 points. That matched the rookie’s career high, a feat he had accomplished on two occasions earlier this year.
All five of the Pacers’ starters had a negative plus-minus. Despite a solid offensive game, Hill registered a -27 on the night.
Washington’s 118 points matched the Wizards’ season high, originally set back in the first week of the season in a win over Milwaukee on Oct. 30.
You Can Quote Me On That
“We didn’t honor the defensive glass at all. We didn’t pursue the ball. Our transition defense wasn’t good and our offense was out of synch. They were more desperate than we were.” -Pacers head coach Frank Vogel
“We gotta bring a better effort. We have to do a better job of coming out, do a better job of preparing. We gotta do a better job, head to toe, on this whole team.” -George
“Right now we’ve just got to stay together and build on this. We have to recover from some of these losses and learn from them. I know Coach will be honest tomorrow at practice and we’ll watch the film and see what we can take from it.” -Pacers forward Glenn Robinson III
“We came into this game and wanted to be more physical and more aggressive. We’ve been playing good defense the last couple of weeks and we know that that has to be our identity.” -Wall
“That has been the way we’ve wanted to play since I’ve been here the last three years. John Wall pushes the pace as well as anyone. He is our engine, he is our motor. When we push the ball like that, it makes us that much more of a dangerous team.” -Wizards forward Drew Gooden
by Wheat Hotchkiss