Harrison, Foster Power Pacers Past Wizards
Indiana 99, Washington 93
WASHINGTON, March 1 (Ticker) -- David Harrison and Jeff Foster gave the Indiana Pacers a second chance.
Harrison scored 10 of his 12 points in the fourth quarter and teamed with Foster to control the backboards as the Pacers rallied for a 99-93 victory over the Washington Wizards.
Harrison sprained his left ankle in the first half, when the Pacers trailed by as many as 14 points. However, he was the catalyst in Indiana's rally with big plays at both ends of the court.
The 7-footer sandwiched a pair of blocks around a jumper that cut the deficit to 78-72, then scored six of Indiana's next eight points. The last of those were a pair of free throws that made it 82-80 and triggered a decisive 7-0 spurt.
"I never question Harrison's toughness," Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. "If anything, sometimes you have to convince him that he's got to come out of the game. He's a guy who loves to play.
"Last night at 7 o'clock I got a call that he was in the health club playing 5-on-5 with a bunch of 40- and 50-something-year-old guys. A couple of our staff people tried to get him off the court and he wouldn't come. I had to go down there myself and talk him out of playing. Fortunately, I was able to get him off the court before anything happened and it certainly put us in a stronger position tonight."
"Dave is going to be an All-Star sooner than a lot of people know," Jackson said. "Once he gets himself in better shape and starts to respect the game a little more and really becomes a student of the game, he's going to be great."
Jackson drained a 3-pointer and rookie Sarunas Jasikevicius added two foul shots for an 85-82 edge with 5:18 to go. A basket by Jackson and two free throws by Fred Jones extended the margin to 91-86 with 2:32 left.
"I could really sense (a swing)," Jasikevicius said. "We were grinding and we were grinding and then they got a couple of breaks, but we were still right there. Then at the end we were able to make a couple stops and get a run. It was a big win for us."
The Pacers held a 95-91 lead when Jones missed a wild driving layup but a hobbling Harrison put home the miss with 47 seconds left.
"I just knew if I could give us something on my foot that it was going to have to be then. And time was winding down," said Harrison, who was 4-of-4 from the field and line and pulled down nine rebounds. "I only had one foul so I just aggressively went after the ball on both ends. And I hit some free throws, which is astonishing."
"He hurt it at the end when he got that put-back, so we'll hold our breath and keep our fingers crossed that he'll be OK (on Thursday) and the next day," Carlisle said. "He's going to be sore, we know that, but if anybody will play hurt, he's certainly a guy who's done it time after time."
Indiana had all 16 of its second-chance points after halftime. Helping in that area was Foster, who had 10 of his 13 rebounds in the second half. He had six offensive boards and contributed six points.
"They took it to us in the first half on the boards," Foster said. "Scot (Pollard) and I did a good job of blocking guys out and we were all able to get to the ball and get on the glass a little bit and get some second-chance points."
Jasikevicius had 14 points and a season-high 11 assists and Jones also scored 14 points for the Pacers, who held a 48-44 advantage on the glass and split the four-game season series with the Wizards (29-27).
"Sarunas did a great job starting at point," Carlisle said. "Fred Jones did a great job defensively on (All-Star Gilbert) Arenas and that was a big key to the game. Freddie didn't have a great shooting night but made huge plays for us in the fourth.
"And Harrison just sucked it up and played hurt. He rolled the ankle and it was questionable whether he could come back, and he wanted to give it a shot. The guy made a couple of huge blocks and did some great things around the basket and got his free throws to go down tonight. My hat's off to him. He's really been struggling from the line but he's been spending time with (assistant) Chuck Person the last two or three days and Chuck's really helped him."
Gilbert Arenas scored 28 points and Antawn Jamison added 20 for the Wizards, who made just 2-of-14 3-pointers and 19-of-31 free throws. Washington has dropped two in a row following a three-game winning streak, squandering 14-point leads in both losses.
"The frustrating part is we're right there," Jamison said. "We're in every game going down to the last two or three minutes. we've just got to do a better job as far as showing some poise and some leadership to make sure guys are all of one accord. Of late, it just hasn't been there. It's fun basketball to be in a game that comes down to the last three or four minutes, but it's not fun when you're not winning. We just have to find a way to close them out."
Despite falling into a 7-0 hole, Washington held a 30-22 lead after one period as Jamison scored nine points. A layup by Caron Butler, who made just 3-of-14 shots, built the lead to 49-35 with three minutes left in the second quarter before Indiana closed to 53-44 at intermission.
"They just outplayed us in the second half," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "They were more physical than us in the paint and the same things continued to plague us - poor third-quarter performance, not competing in the paint, and being distracted by what's going on at the other end of the court. We have to learn to deal with adversity and not be distracted by missed calls or good defense being played against us."