Notebook: Pacers 89, Wizards 81

Posted Jan 2, 2013 10:21 PM

Conrad Brunner, for

THE FACTS: Whatever level a player has reached when he can score 29 points with 14 rebounds and make it look easy, Paul George is there. Coming off the best month of his career, Indiana's emerging young star started the New Year with another big game to spark the Pacers to an otherwise ugly 89-81 victory over the Washington Wizards Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It was the sixth consecutive home win for the Pacers, who improved to 19-13 overall and extended their dominance over the Wizards to nine in a row overall and 10 in Indianapolis. The Wizards got 20 points from Jordan Crawford but fell to 4-26 overall, tied for the fourth-worst 30-game record in league history.

QUOTABLE: "Paul George is becoming a beast of a player at both ends of the court. He's probably the best wing defender in the NBA and on the offensive end, he's coming just the same."

-- Pacers coach Frank Vogel

THE STAT: Indiana improved to 7-6 when scoring less than 90 points, exceeding the team's total victories of the previous five seasons combined, in which the Pacers went 6-57 including a 2-14 mark last season.

TURNING POINT: The Pacers jumped out quickly, building a 24-7 lead -- marking the 13th time in 30 games the Wizards fell behind by double figures in the opening quarter -- but Washington surged twice. The first, a 20-7 run bridging the periods, cut the lead to 38-35 but George scored seven in a row to stem the tide. The Wizards opened the second half on a 10-4 burst to close to 51-49 but George and D.J. Augustin answered as the Pacers quickly pushed the lead back to double digits.

QUOTABLE II: "They are a tough team, defensively. They really get after it. We had to take care of the ball, really execute and find guys, offensively. They play all-out with nothing to lose. Sometimes that's all it takes, for guys to go out there and be fearless."

-- George on the Wizards

HOT: George averaged 18.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.1 assists in December and started January even hotter, posting his sixth double-double of the season and fourth in the last eight games. ... Augustin made nine of 10 free throws and played solidly in his second consecutive start filling in for George Hill (bruised thigh), adding six assists. ... Centers Roy Hibbert and Ian Mahinmi combined for 22 points and 15 rebounds. ... Washington's bench racked up 48 points led by Crawford and Kevin Seraphin, who scored 16 with nine rebounds and hit 8 of 13 shots.

NOT: The Wizards' starters were outscored 74-33 and two -- Garrett Temple and Martell Webster -- failed to score. ... David West had a rare off night for Indiana, shooting 3-for-13 and scoring just eight points. ... Indiana's bench managed just 15 points on combined 4-for-16 shooting with six turnovers and one assist. Bradley Beal, the Kia NBA Rookie of the Month in the East for December, shot just 6-for-15 and scored 14 points.

QUOTABLE III: "It seems like it's the same thing over and over. Until we come together as a group we're going to have our ups and downs through every game. We talked this morning about how we wanted to end this bad run and end it now but at the start of the game tonight we just didn't seem to have it."

-- Wizards coach Randy Wittman

NOTABLE: Hill said the pain in his bruised thigh has started to recede but he still lacks the strength to make explosive moves. It is uncertain if he will play Friday when the Pacers face the Celtics in Boston. ... The Pacers-Bulls game originally scheduled for Dec. 26 but postponed by a blizzard in Indianapolis has been rescheduled for Feb. 4. That sets up the Pacers for a difficult week as they'll play three games in three nights and four in five. ... This is Indiana's longest home winning streak since an eight-game run in 2009-10. ... The Wizards may soon regain a few key players. Trevor Ariza (calf) may practice Thursday with an eye on returning this weekend. A.J. Price (fractured right hand) had his cast removed, and Trevor Booker (knee) is also making progress. Even John Wall (knee) has begun light workouts in hopes of returning sometime this month. ... Washington's three losses to the Pacers this season have come by a total of 19 points.

UP NEXT: For the Pacers, Friday @ Boston, Saturday vs. Milwaukee, Tuesday vs. Miami. For the Wizards, Friday vs. Brooklyn, Sunday @ Miami, Monday vs. Oklahoma City.