Notebook: Pacers 89, Wizards 85



Posted Nov 10, 2012 10:28 PM

By Conrad Brunner, For NBA.com

THE FACTS: Until they figure out how to re-calibrate things while Danny Granger is out, it's going to be like this for the Pacers -- grinding games that come down to the last make-or-break possessions, every win a trial by fire. This time, Indiana built a seven-point lead with 1:44 left, and had to hang on for dear life to pull out an 89-85 victory over winless Washington to snap a three-game losing streak Saturday night. It was the sixth time in seven games the Pacers had been involved in a one possession game at the end of regulation. Paul George scored 20 points to lead Indiana (3-4), with Gerald Green adding 15 and eight rebounds off the bench. Bradley Beal and Emeka Okafor scored 17 apiece for the Wizards (0-5).

QUOTABLE: "When Danny [Granger] went down I expected a trial-and-error period. We're sort of figuring things out with our team and I think we took a step in positive direction tonight."

-- Indiana coach Frank Vogel

THE STAT: Filling in at point guard while John Wall recovers from a knee injury, former Pacers backup A.J. Price had a big game against his former team, scoring 12 points and adding a career-high 14 assists -- without a turnover.

TURNING POINT: David West's layup with 1:44 left put the Pacers up 87-80, but Beal hit a 3-pointer and Okafor scored inside to cut it to 87-85 with 36.5 seconds left. The Wizards had a chance to tie or take the lead after George missed an open corner 3-pointer, and got a decent but hurried look in the lane that Trevor Booker missed. George rebounded, was fouled and made both free throws with 1.2 seconds left.

QUOTABLE II: "We're making good strides as a team. We're in every game, which I guess is like a gift and a curse. You'd like to win some games. We're in every game, so it is just little things that we need to correct. It's just execution down the stretch. That's what we haven't been doing yet, and that falls on me. It falls on the point guard. The point guard has to get us in the right sets and make sure we get a shot up."

-- A.J. Price

HOT: Wing players George and Green had struggled under the weight of picking up the Granger slack, combining to shoot 37 percent overall and 31 percent from the arc in the first six games. But the two produced 35 points on 14-for-24 shooting and pulled 15 rebounds.

NOT: Indiana's power tandem of Roy Hibbert and David West combined to shoot 7-for-31 (22.6 percent), while backup power forward Tyler Hansbrough was 4-for-12 from the free-throw line.

GOOD MOVE: Continuing to tinker with the lineup and rotations, Vogel gave Lance Stephenson his first start of the season (and second of his career) at shooting guard, while staggering the second unit rotation to make sure at least two starters were on the floor at all times. Stephenson had 12 points and four rebounds, going 5-for-7, and the bench produced 31 points on 11-for-21 shooting.

BAD MOVE: Throughout the game, the Pacers proved incapable of defending Washington's middle pick-and-roll, with Price invariably creating an open free-throw line jumper for Okafor. But, when the Wizards needed a bucket in the closing seconds, coach Randy Wittman did not go to his money play and paid the price.

ROOKIE WATCH: Beal continued his surge, looking like a player beyond his years, going 6-for-11, hitting all three of his 3-pointers and pulling six rebounds. In the last three games, he has totaled 55 points. None of the Pacers' three rookies played.

NOTABLE: Indiana has won seven in a row from the Wizards, including the last nine at home. ... The Pacers averaged 20.3 turnovers in the first four games but just 13.7 in the last three, including 13 tonight. ... Hibbert pulled a career-high eight offensive rebounds among his 12 boards. ... In his last three games, Price has 39 points and 30 assists. ... Washington scored just 22 points in the paint, a season low for an Indiana opponent.

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Tuesday vs. Toronto, Wednesday @ Milwaukee, Friday vs. Dallas. For the Wizards, Tuesday @ Charlotte, Wednesday @ Dallas, Saturday vs. Utah.