GAME RECAP: Wizards 111, Pacers 98

Otto Porter pours in 25 points and John Wall records a double-double with 20 points and 12 assists as the Wizards take care of the Pacers at home, 111-98.

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GAME RECAP: Wizards 111, Pacers 98

Otto Porter pours in 25 points and John Wall records a double-double with 20 points and 12 assists as the Wizards take care of the Pacers at home, 111-98.
Feb 16, 2017  |  02:17

GR3 Connects On And-One

February 16, 2017 - Glenn Robinson III gets by his defender and takes it into the lane for the and-one basket.
Feb 16, 2017  |  00:06

Postgame Wrap Up: Pacers-Wizards - Feb. 16, 2017

Feb. 16, 2017 - The Pacers fell to the Washington Wizards 111-98 Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Pacers.com's Lauryn Gray breaks down the Pacers' final game before the All-Star break.
Feb 16, 2017  |  01:58

Teague Uses Up-And-Under

February 16, 2017 - Jeff Teague works his defender with the up-and-under move before scoring the bucket.
Feb 16, 2017  |  00:05

Postgame: McMillan Press Conference - Feb. 16, 2017

Feb. 16, 2017 - Pacers head coach Nate McMillan speaks with the media following Indiana's 111-98 loss to the Washington Wizards at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Feb 16, 2017  |  11:18

PG To Stuckey For Three

February 16, 2017 - Paul George gets under the basket and find Rodney Stuckey in the corner for the trey ball.
Feb 16, 2017  |  00:07

Postgame: Pacers Locker Room - Feb. 16, 2017

Feb. 16, 2017 - Pacers players Paul George, Jeff Teague, and Glenn Robinson III discussed Indiana's 111-98 loss to the Washington Wizards Thursday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Feb 16, 2017  |  01:59

Turner Earns And-One

February 16, 2017 - Myles Turner drive into the lane, takes the bump, and gets the shot to fall.
Feb 16, 2017  |  00:06

Postgame: Scott Brooks - Feb. 16, 2017

February 16, 2017 - Wizards head coach Scott Brooks talks about his team's keys to success against Indiana as they head into the All-Star break.
Feb 16, 2017  |  01:21

Ellis Hits Tough Layup

February 16, 2017 - Monta Ellis makes his way into the lane and gets the tough layup to fall over the bigger defender.
Feb 16, 2017  |  00:12

C.J. Drains The Jumper

February 16, 2017 - C.J. Miles takes advantage of a gambling defender by knocking down the mid-range jump shot.
Feb 16, 2017  |  00:10

Pacers Head Into Break in Search of a Spark

by Mark Montieth
Pacers.com Writer
@MarkMontieth

Of all the things the Pacers need right now, and there appear to be many, a vacation certainly ranks near the top.

That will have to qualify as the silver lining to their 111-98 loss to Washington at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Thursday, one that extended their losing streak to six games and sent them skidding into the All-Star break. They won't have to play again, won't have to confront their concerns again, for eight days, when they meet Memphis at The Fieldhouse on Feb. 24.

Maybe the time off will do them good — recharge their batteries, as the cliché goes — and they'll come back rested and ready to finish the season with a revived spirit. Almost certainly, the break will enable Thad Young, who has missed the last eight games, and Lavoy Allen, who missed the last three, to complete their recovery from injuries and become available again.

Whatever it does, it will be welcomed by one and all.

"I think we're exhausted," said Paul George, who appears the most exhausted of all the Pacers. "We've been drained."

Despite the losing streak, the Pacers enter the break one game over .500 and in sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings. But momentum is long gone, and won't be easy to recover given the schedule that greets them on their return from the break. Once two games out of third place after the seven-game winning streak that preceded the current slide, they're now two games ahead of eighth.

One could analyze their defensive woes. They've allowed an average of 115.6 points during the losing streak.

One could break down their inability to control the 3-point line. They were outscored by 33 points there by the Wizards, and have allowed 122 more 3-pointers than they've scored to this point of the season.

One could talk about rebounding. They were outrebounded by four by the Wizards, which is one-tenth of a percent less than their average deficit on the boards, which usually leads to a deficit of second-chance points.

One could talk about injuries. Young's value has never been more obvious than during his absence.

One could talk about chemistry. They've lacked it all season because of the roster turnover and coaching change, as well as the injuries that have removed key players at various times. Thursday, George called them "disconnected."

One could talk about individual performances. George, their only All-Star, hit just 10-of-38 shots over the last two games and appeared lost at times on defense. If there was a need for blatant evidence of his energy crisis, it came in the fourth quarter, when he picked off a steal and drove for an uncontested breakaway dunk. Such an occasion once called for a 360-degree spinning slam that was replayed over and over again on national highlights, or at least a reverse dunk. This time he simply offered a baby dunk, as simple as could be.

The core issue, however, the one that's most difficult to correct, is their laconic nature, which is the result of personality more than anything else. They are good citizens and get along well with one another, but collectively lack the "spark" – George's word – that can build a long-lasting fire. It's a quality that previous Pacers such as Reggie Miller, Al Harrington and Ron Artest possessed, one that can rub off on teammates and fans alike. Also, one that can't be taught.

What does this team need after the break?

"Just a spark, man, just a spark," George said. "More energy. More excitement. It's like a cloud over us right now. Like a dark cloud. We're coming to the arena not expecting great things. The second half of the season, that's what we need to change.

Is George, who flew to New Orleans after the game to begin All-Star Weekend, the person to bring that?

"Man, I can't do everything; I can't do everything," he said. "I'm going to put everything I have into it, but collectively we've got to have the whole team change this environment and make it live in here again."

Coach Nate McMillan has acknowledged the need for livelier personalities since training camp. For now, all he can do is work with what he has.

"It's hard to change people," he said. "But, sometimes you have to be open to change. That's what we are looking for from our guys. Some guys are not rah-rah guys, maybe they don't speak much. But sometimes they have to make adjustments and open up a little more. That's what we're working on. Your voice connects you. We do have guys who are kind of quiet. We're working on it."

Reversing the current slide won't be easy. Memphis, the next opponent, is 34-24. After that, the Pacers head out on a five-game road trip through Miami, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta and Charlotte. It's a poorly designed trip, in many respects. The only losing teams of those five are Miami and Charlotte. Miami recently won 13 consecutive games, and will be met on the back end of a back-to-back. They'll face Charlotte at the end of the trip and also in a back-to-back set.

Who'll stop the drain?

George says to start with him.

"As much as this is a team and we've got to go out and win games together, it's on me to put us in position to win these games," he said. "We're struggling. I'm struggling. I've got to help them, they've got to help me. We've got to work hand in hand."


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