Friday, Dec. 31, 2010 at Conseco Fieldhouse

Game Rewind: Pacers 95, Wizards 86

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FROM THE LOCKER ROOM

PACERS COACH JIM O'BRIEN

Paul George had 19 hustle stats in 18 minutes. Thats the most of anybody this year. We thought about a couple things with Paul regarding line-ups and he has practiced well. I thought we played well and played a very solid game. I thought our tempo was consistently good. I thought both our point guards did an aggressive job attacking on the break. Im pleased with our half court defense. We talked about teams playing against our half court defense without giving up cheap baskets. Were making strides. We have a long way to go. We have to solve our droughts offensively.

PACERS FORWARD PAUL GEORGE

I didnt have any idea that my number would be called that early in the game. When I got in the game my teammates helped me, urged me and got me going." (On being disappointed with not playing) A little bit of disappointment during the stretch when I was not playing. I have really been pushing the guys in front of me and that has done nothing but make me better." (On his body) I am young; my body is in good shape. I must prepare my mind to be ready to play every game.

PACERS GUARD DARREN COLLISON

We knew that we could play better than we played the other night. I knew that I could, because I didnt play very well the other night. Every time they made a run at us we pushed them back and were able to keep them in the distance. Everybody contributed. Everybody wanted this game. So we all went out, worked hard and got it.

PACERS GUARD BRANDON RUSH

We knew that we had to defend well and keep them off the boards, because they pounded us the other night. We executed a lot better, hit our open shots and the game results were there. I will continue to work hard and make use of the minutes that are passed my way. There was a sense of urgency out there tonight and we all picked up on it. Now weve got to work on consistency. We cant play one way one night and another way the next night.

WIZARDS COACH FLIP SAUNDERS

It seems that at home we play with a lot more urgency and aggressiveness and on the road we seem to come out passive. I love the way our crowd gets us into the start of the game, but we just dont seem to come out with the same passion on the road. Give Indiana credit. They got into us early, even though both teams had a lot of turnovers. I think ours hurt us more, and adding into that all, our missed shots. When we got within 10 or 11 down the stretch we just couldnt hit the big shot when we needed it.

WIZARDS GUARD JOHN WALL

It seems on the road, some of them we just give away. Weve had our chances in a couple of the games, but we just couldnt finish in the stretch. Tonight I was just wanted to get into a rhythm and it felt good early, but I dont like to shoot a lot. I like to get my teammates the ball to spread the offense. (On the difference between the last game against Indiana) Definitely it was their guards pushing the ball up in transition. Their guards did a great job of getting the ball out. And I know fast break points were a big reason in addition to our turnovers that we let the game get away from us.

WIZARDS FORWARD RASHARD LEWIS

Tonight they played great defense. But I think the big difference was our turnovers really hurt us, especially down the stretch. We needed to come out with more energy and beat them up the court. But their guards really pushed the ball up. And in the end they ended up with a lot of easy points. There is no excuse for our losing on the road like this. We just have to play better defense and control the number of turnovers we make.
Pacers go on the attack, rout Wizards

END RESULT

From the outset, you could sense the Pacers were in attack mode. Danny Granger started with two hard drives to the basket, Roy Hibbert dunked and the tone was set for Indiana's 95-86 payback victory over the Washington Wizards on Friday afternoon before 13,043 in Conseco Fieldhouse.

Granger scored 18 points, with seven of his eight baskets coming on layups, as the Pacers bounced back from a sluggish performance in a 104-90 loss in Washington Wednesday night. Indiana led from its first basket and was up by as many as 20 before the Wizards closed the final margin with an inconsequential late flurry.

Darren Collison scored 18 and Roy Hibbert 17 for the Pacers, who also got a big lift from rookie Paul George's career-high 13 points, seven rebounds and five steals in 18 minutes off the bench.

John Wall scored 25 to lead Washington but the rookie point guard from Kentucky committed seven turnovers.

IMPACT

The Pacers snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 14-17 overall, 9-8 at home. They finished December with a 5-10 mark this season, 12-34 the past three. They also beat the Wizards for the sixth game in a row at Conseco Fieldhouse, a streak that dates back to April 18, 2007. The Wizards dropped to 8-23 and remained winless on the road this season. At 0-16, they are the first NBA team to open with as many road losses since the 2001-02 Bulls lost their first 18.

QUOTEWORTHY

  • Paul George had 19 hustle stats in 18 minutes. Thats the most of anybody this year. We thought about a couple things with Paul regarding line-ups and he has practiced well. I thought we played well and played a very solid game." Pacers coach Jim O'Brien
  • I didnt have any idea that my number would be called that early in the game. When I got in the game my teammates helped me, urged me and got me going." Pacers forward Paul George
  • "We knew that we could play better than we played the other night. I knew that I could, because I didnt play very well the other night." Pacers guard Darren Collison
  • "It seems on the road, some of them we just give away." Wizards guard John Wall

STAT OF THE GAME

This was the 300th win of O'Brien's NBA coaching career. His overall record is 300-317, including 118-159 with the Pacers.

HIGHLIGHTS

While the offense made its mark by attacking the lane, the defense closed down that area of the court to the Wizards, who were 8-of-22 in the first quarter then got colder in the second. In the first nine minutes of the second quarter, the Pacers put together a 22-7 run to build a 47-29 lead as the Wizards missed all eight of their shots and committed seven turnovers. The advantage was 49-34 at the break as Washington shot 28 percent for the half with three assists and 10 turnovers.

George put on a show in the third quarter, scoring seven in a row, the last on a windmill jam after a steal that put the Pacers up 69-49. Wall tried to bring the Wizards back, scoring 13 of their final 15 points of the quarter but picked up his fourth foul on a charge taken by James Posey in the closing moments of the period.

With Wall on the bench, the Pacers stretched the lead back out as another George steal and dunk made it 89-72 with 5:53 remaining. The Wizards got no closer than the final margin in the second half.

BY THE NUMBERS

The Pacers shot 48.7 percent overall despite a sub-par 5-of-19 mark (.263) from the 3-point line. They outrebounded the Wizards 45-39 but committed 23 turnovers, seven by Hibbert. They had 15 steals. Granger was 8-of-12 from the field, adding three rebounds and two assists to his 18 points. Collison was 8-of-14 with six assists and four rebounds along with his 18. Hibbert's 17 came on 6-of-13 shooting and he added eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks. George was 5-of-8 from the field and Brandon Rush scored 11.

Wall posted a career-high 10 field goals made in just 15 attempts on the way to his 25 for Washington but he had more turnovers (seven) than assists (four). Rashard Lewis scored 15 with six rebounds and five assists and Al Thornton had 10 on 4-of-4 shooting off the bench. The Wizards shot just 38.8 percent and had nearly twice has many turnovers (22) as assists (12).

NOTEWORTHY

  • George played in the first quarter for the first time since Nov. 9 (Denver) and played in consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 5-9.
  • Though healthy enough to play, Jeff Foster was inactive for the second game in a row.
  • Wall returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 10. He had come off the bench the previous three after missing five with a bone bruise in his right knee.
  • Saunders was back on the bench after missing Wednesday's game due to a family emergency.
  • The Wizards played the second half with Josh Howard (sore left knee).
  • His first steal today is the 500th of Mike Dunleavy's career.
  • The Wizards' 12 points in the second quarter are the fewest scored against the Pacers in any period this season.
  • The Pacers scored a season-high 58 points in the paint.
  • Washington's 22 turnovers tied the most by a Pacers' opponent and Indiana's 27 points off those mistakes are a season-high.

UP NEXT

The Pacers open 2011 Sunday afternoon in New York against the resurgent Knicks (1 p.m., WIBC 93 FM). Please note, the game will not be televised locally.

--Conrad Brunner, Pacers.com