Wednesday, January 2nd at 7:00 PM EST at Bankers LIfe Fieldhouse
Game Preview: IND vs WAS
by Scott Agness | December 31, 2012 | Updated January 2, 2012, 12:23 PM
The Pacers close out 2012 and open the New Year with a challenging schedule. During a seven-game stretch, they’ll face six winning teams. The exception comes Wednesday with the Washington Wizards, a team that lost their first 12 games and only has four wins this season.
The Wizards have been without their standout point guard in John Wall all season due to a troubling left knee injury, much like Danny Granger. Recently, they haven't had Trevor Ariza and former Pacers guard A.J. Price, either.
Just how beat up have the Wizards been this season? Only Emeka Okafor has played in every game. Injuries at the point guard position sent the Wizards reaching out to their 2011 draft pick, Shelvin Mack, and calling him up from the D-League on Christmas Eve. They also pulled up Garrett Temple on Dec. 22 and he's now their starting point guard. Temple, who is getting his first NBA time in nearly two seasons, along with rookie Bradley Beal make up the Wizards' starting backcourt—definitely a spot for the Pacers to attack.
Jordan Crawford leads Washington in scoring with a career-best 16 points per game. Nene, who missed their first nine games of the season, is averaging 13 points—with a 50 percent clip from the field—and 6.5 rebounds per game. The Wizards are dead-last in the NBA in points per game (88.9) and field goal percentage (40.6).
The Pacers have already faced them twice this season and each time it has gone down to the final minutes but Indiana has prevailed. With the Wizards down in the dumps and coming off a home game Tuesday against Dallas, the Pacers can't play to the level of competition and must take this one.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out, left knee), George Hill (game-time decision, strained right groin)
Grizzlies: John Wall (out, left patella), Trevor Ariza (out, strained left calf), Trevor Booker (out, strained right knee), A.J. Price (out, fractured right hand)
"We have a healthy respect for them. Despite what their record is, both games we played them came down to the wire. They play extremely hard defensively, so we know nothing is going to be easy for us, and they struggle to score. But, they have guys that are capable of getting red-hot – they had ten three’s against us the first time we played them here." – Frank Vogel on the Wizards
"He’s worked hard all year. It didn’t change when his role change. He cares a lot about this team, filling out his role and is one of the hardest workers we have." – Frank Vogel on D.J. Augustin
- The Pacers have won the last nine meetings between the two teams and nine in a row against Washington in Indy.
- The Pacers are 9-3 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse – including four wins in a row.
- Paul George has averaged 18.6 points and 7.7 rebounds in the month of December, both team-highs.
- Indianapolis native Randy Wittman is the head coach in D.C., and he’s assisted by Jerry Sichting, who played at Purdue University and then with the Pacers from 1980-85.
The two teams last met in Washington on Nov. 19. Indiana led by as many as 20 against the NBA’s last winless team, but the Wizards rallied back to make things interesting in the final quarter. David West knew it was a game they team couldn’t lose and he ensured that didn’t happen. The Pacers left our nation’s capital with a 96-89 victory.
The Pacers looked like they were going to end the game in the third quarter, taking their biggest lead of 20 at 69-49, while the Wizards missed 13 straight field goals. However, the home team charged back by way of an 18-2 run to close the quarter.
West then took over, scoring 13 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter. He hit big shot after big shot and assisted on a key hook shot put in by Roy Hibbert to put the Pacers up five with just over a minute to go. West knocked down another jumper and Hill made two free throws for a seven-point win.
Hibbert had 20 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and three assists in front of his parents, who were seated courtside. George Hill scored 12 points and Sam Young contributed nine points and eight rebounds off the bench. The Wizards bench outscored the Pacers 58-26 and accounted for 65% of their offense. Rookie Bradley Beal led the Wizards 18 points. Kevin Seraphin chipped in 13 and Jordan Crawford added 11.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
The Pacers-Wizards game is on Wednesday, January 2, with tip-off time at 7:00 PM EST. Buy Tickets »