Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Washington

FAN BLOG TV COMPANION PACERS NOTES WIZARDS NOTES

Countdown to Tipoff: Pacers vs. Washington

SCOUTING THE PACERS: As the Pacers work toward clinching their first playoff berth since 2006, they'll need to find a way to tighten up their defense for the postseason. In a 108-96 loss to New Orleans on Sunday, the Hornets became the fourth opponent in the last five games to shoot at least 51 percent. Indiana ranks seventh in the league in field-goal defense allowed (.450), so the recent slippage is out of character. Slow starts have also crept back onto the agenda. They've trailed by double figures in the first half six times in the last eight games. Thanks largely to a productive bench, the Pacers have come back to win four of those games. Reserves have totaled at least 40 points four times in the last five games as both A.J. Price (10.5 points in the last four) and Brandon Rush (10.1 in the last eight) have been consistently effective.

SCOUTING THE WIZARDS: After losing 35 of their first 36 road games, the Wizards are suddenly road warriors, winning their last two trips, 100-95 at Utah in overtime and 97-91 in Charlotte. They'll try to make it three straight on the road against the Pacers but will be in a back-to-back situation as they host Detroit Tuesday night. Heading into Tuesday's game, Jordan Crawford had been on a tear. Crawford, who started his college career at Indiana University but transferred to Xavier after his freshman season, had averaged 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists in the four previous games. That included a career-high 39 points against Miami on March 30 and his first triple-double (21 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) against Cleveland on April 1. Andray Blatche also had been hot, racking up 61 points and 36 rebounds in the two previous games.

KEY MATCHUP: In the Pacers' two victories over the Wizards, Roy Hibbert has racked up 33 points and 14 rebounds while hitting 11-of-22 shots, compared to totals of 12 points and 11 boards from counterpart JaVale McGee. In Washington's win, McGee had 16 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks while Hibbert managed five points, four rebounds and five fouls in 15 minutes.

QUOTE MARKS: "Our defense was not in synch like it had been the last couple of games. We let guys drive to the basket left and right. People were stepping up and we weren’t synching the help. It was just all defense for us." -- Roy Hibbert on the 108-96 loss in New Orleans

INJURY REPORT: The Pacers are healthy. For the Wizards, Nick Young (bruised left knee) and Hamady Ndiaye (strained left patella tendon) are questionable, while Trevor Booker (fractured sesamoid bone, right foot), Josh Howard (left knee tendinitis) and Rashard Lewis (sore right knee) are out.

TICKETS: Buy now | College night | Kroger Plus Night.

BROADCAST INFO: The game will be telecast at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports Indiana with Chris Denari and Quinn Buckner calling the game and Stacy Paetz on the sideline, with a pre-game show starting at 7. The radio broadcast is anchored by the flagship of the Pacers' network, WIBC 93 FM, featuring Mark Boyle and Austin Croshere, with Kevin Lee reporting.

INTERACT: You can chat live with fans around the country in our live game blog which begins at tipoff.