Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 7:00 PM EDT at Verizon Center
Game Preview: IND at WAS
Scott Agness | April 4, 2013
As the season winds down, the Pacers are keeping tabs of the standings with a particularly close eye on the No. 2 seed. New York is on an 11-game win streak, which has prevented the Pacers from relaxing.
With a win in Washington, the Pacers would have a winning road record for the first time since they started the season 1-0, after a George Hill tear-drop in Toronto gave them a two-point edge in game No. 1. They then lost their next six road games and have been climbing uphill to .500 ever since. Winning on the road is integral for any team to be successful, more so in the playoffs. Early in the week, the Pacers wrapped up a four-game Western Conference trip where they came away victorious in all four games. That’s a tremendous confidence booster.
However, after last night’s 97-75 home loss to Oklahoma City, they know they must play with energy and get their shots going. A win would give the Pacers their first division title since the 2003-04 season.
The last time the Pacers faced the Wizards, all the back on Jan. 2, the Wizards were by far the worst team in the league. After the Pacers won at home 89-81, the Wizards dropped to 4-26. Since, they have gone 24-20, including impressive recent wins over Chicago and Memphis. Many called for head coach Randy Wittman to be fired, which would have been the fifth midseason coaching change. Like a handful of other teams, they’ve dealt with an injury bug that has sidetracked their season.
The primary reason for the increased win total is John Wall, who missed the first 33 games of the season because of a left knee injury. Fortunately for the Pacers, they played the Wizards three of the four times while they were weak and without their star. In March, Wall scored at least 13 points in every game and averaged 22.1 points, 8.0 assists and 4.8 rebounds per contest.
Winners of eight in a row at home, the Wizards start and end with Wall. Indiana’s big advantage comes at positions two through four. Garrett Temple, who starts for the Wizards at shooting guard, wasn’t even on their roster until Christmas Day.
Pacers: Danny Granger (out for the season, left knee)
Wizards: Jason Collins (questionable, sprained right ankle), Bradley Beal (out for the season, stress injury in his right fibula), Leandro Barbosa (out for the season, torn left ACL)
“We gotta have a short memory. This league is about having a short memory. With so many back-to-backs, we have to bounce back and play a great game.” – Frank Vogel after Friday’s loss to the Thunder
“We can’t let up. Washington is a great defensive team and they’re playing well at home so we have to continue to pick up our energy and have a will to win.” – George Hill
“Washington is a tough team at home so we got our hands full. We got to let [last night’s loss] go.” – David West.
“We just have to bring the energy. We’re a tough team when we get going. Obviously, we got to rebound better, we got to shoot the ball better and we have to defend better, but we have to bring the energy.” – Paul George
- The Pacers have won the last nine meetings.
- The 1978 Washington Bullets NBA Championship team will be recognized for its 35th anniversary.
- Wizards head coach Randy Wittman is an Indianapolis native and Ben Davis HS grad; one of his assistants, Jerry Sichting, played at Purdue and then with the Pacers from 1980-85.
The Pacers jumped out to a blistering 31-18 start in the first quarter and led the entire way. Rookie Bradley Beal scored on three straight possessions late in the game, which got the Wizards within four points. D.J. Augustin hit four free throws to seal the 89-81 win. Knocking down 26-of-31 attempts, the Pacers outscored the Wizards 26-8 at the charity stripe.
Paul George was great all-around and finished with 29 points, 14 rebounds and three assists. Augustin tallied 18 points and Ian Mahinmi chipped in 11 (a season-high at the time). Jordan Crawford paced the Wizards with 20 points and seven assists while Kevin Seraphin contributed 16 points.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana – Chris Denari (play-by-play), Austin Croshere (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (host)
Next Home Game
Tickets are still available for the Pacers' next home game, Tuesday, April 9 against the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7:00 PM. Find Tickets »