Friday, January 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers (28-7) vs Wizards (16-17)
Scott Agness | January 8, 2014
Once completing a grueling stretch of four games in five days, the Pacers are back at it on Friday as the Washington Wizards make their second and final trip to the Circle City. The Wizards last visited just about six weeks ago and headed home after a 20-point loss.
Since that time, the Wizards, who’ll be concluding a 3-game road trip, have gotten second-year guard Bradley Beal back in their lineup. He had a right leg injury that forced him out of nine games early. He’s the second leading scorer on the Wizards (17.7ppg), behind John Wall (19.7ppg, 8.8apg).
Wall, who leads Eastern Conference guards with 11 double-doubles, is the engine that makes the Wizards go. So many teams in The Association start with their point guards. Guys like Brooklyn’s Deron Williams or Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving are, as the Pacers phrase it, the head of the snake. Wall is so great at getting out in transition, and running with shooters. The Wizards rank fifth in the NBA in 3-point percentage, at 38 percent. He can assertively get to the paint and lay it in, or kick outside for a better shot.
Facing Wall, the No. 1 draft pick in 2010, or anyone else in the draft class is always motivating to Pacers swingman Paul George. George is the only All-Star in that class but fortunately for the Pacers, they were able to eagerly snatch him up at No. 10.
Seeking a true center before this season, the Wizards acquired Marcin Gortat from Phoenix in exchange for injured center Emeka Okafor and a 2014 protected first-round pick. Gortat has played in every game this season and finished in double figures every game this month. On the season, he’s averaging 12.6 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest.
Ben Davis and Indiana University graduate Randy Wittman is in his second season as the Wizards’ head coach. His team is in the middle of pack, in terms of most key statistical categories. As the Pacers are in a lull offensively, this is a perfect game to bust out of it as the Wizards allow opponents to shoot better than 46 percent.
Pacers: Lance Stephenson (probable, right knee contusion)
Wizards: Al Harrington (out, right knee surgery), Glen Rice, Jr. (out, fractured right wrist)
"I think they're playing better basketball. ... Bradley Beal changes their team, and obviously Nene hasn't been out as long as Bradley has been out but those two guys change their team. I think the move of starting Booker and bringing Nene off the bench has given them a huge boost." – Frank Vogel on the Wizards
"After a loss, we always watch film and try to get better at what we did wrong. We're definitely mad about that game so we're going to improve and take it out on the Wizards tonight." – Lance Stephenson
"He's great. He's awesome in the transition. He knows how to pick and choose where to go while he's going full speed and he's making smart plays at the time." – Lance Stephenson on John Wall
- Indiana has won 14 of the last 17 regular season meetings, including 11 straight at the Fieldhouse.
- The Pacers’ league-leading defense has held eight opponents to their lowest point total of the season.
- In their last five home games, the Pacers have limited opponents to an average of 28.8 points in the paint.
Nov. 29: The Pacers sprinted ahead by 12 in the first quarter, then led by as many as 25 in a 93-73 victory over the Wizards at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Lance Stephenson was three points short of another triple-double, but he also committed eight turnovers. Washington’s 73 points remain a season-low for an Indiana opponent.
Entering the game, the Wizards led the league with 18.6 fast-break points per game but they didn’t have any in this one. Paul George topped the charts with 23 points while both Roy Hibbert and George Hill had 13 apiece. Wizards center Marcin Gortat posted 17 points and 10 rebounds for the double-double. John Wall was limited to a season-low eight points on 4-of-14 shooting.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: FOX Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Brooke Olzendam (sideline reporter/host)
Radio: FM 107.5 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)