Friday, March 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM ET at Verizon Center
Game Preview: Pacers at Wizards
Scott Agness | Updated: March 27, 2014, 5:30 p.m.
Next up for the Pacers (52-20) are the Washington Wizards (36-35), a likely playoff team in the Eastern Conference that’s currently slotted in the sixth seed.
After returning home from a four-game trip out West, the Wizards are playing at home, where they are just 17-17 this season, four times over a five-game stretch. Entering Friday night’s game, the Wizards have lost four of five and are 4-6 over the last 10 games.
Since their final meeting last season, a 104-85 loss in D.C., Pacers coach Frank Vogel regularly reminds the Pacers of just how dangerous the Wizards are — particularly John Wall, the NBA’s leader in assists (622 total). He tore them up in that April game, going for 37 points on 16-of-25 shooting. But after Wall’s performance Wednesday night, 29 points and six assists in a loss to Phoenix, Vogel said that showing his players highlights of that game will do just as well. In each of the the teams' two meetings so far this year, they’ve kept Wall in check — to eight and 13 points, respectively.
Paul George, a member of the 2010 draft class, always says facing Wall carries extra weight because he believes he should’ve been the top pick in their draft instead of Wall. Of course, George has had more immediate success, as he was the first one voted into an All-Star Game (Wall became an All-Star for the first time this season). Coincidentally, Evan Turner was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 2 in that same draft.
The Pacers have had their way with the Wizards this season, winning their first two matchups by a combined 47 points. In their most recent meeting, the Wizards managed a season-low 66 points. In six of Washington's last seven games, four of them losses, they’ve scored 101 points or more. Part of that, however, is the result of playing more up-tempo Western Conference foes.
Every game matters as the season winds down. There are just 10 regular-season games remaining on the Pacers’ slate — six on the road — and a win would be their 20th on the road this season.
These final 10 games for the Pacers are mostly about improving their offensive efficiency, fine-tuning their defense and building winning habits for the playoffs.
Pacers: Andrew Bynum (out, sore right knee), C.J. Watson (out, right hamstring strain)
Wizards: Nené (out, sprained left MCL)
“I just think we got to try to play our best every game and try to improve our habits every single game. Whether you’re playing the Miami Heat or the Washington Wizards or the Cleveland Cavs, it doesn’t matter. You got to try to be at your best. Now is when your playoff habits are developed and established.” – Frank Vogel
“It all runs through (John Wall) for the most part. He’s the creator, he’s the head of the snake. But they have multiple guys that can hurt you because of their passing ability.” – Frank Vogel
“They’re shooters. Because (Wall’s) not always getting to the rim. He draws help and then he throws it out to their great shooters. It’s a heck of an attack.” – Frank Vogel
“We’re just trying to put together solid games. Put together games where our defense is intact and our offensively we are sharing the ball and doing what we need to do. As long as we can continue to do that, we’re going to find ourselves in the mix in most of these games. We just gotta continue to figure out ways to win, particularly down the stretch late in games.” – David West
- Indiana has won 11 of the last 12 meetings in the series.
- The Pacers have been held below 40 percent shooting in six of their last seven games, including four straight. They’re 4-3 in those games.
- Ian Mahinmi needs three rebounds for 1,000 for his career.
January 10: The Pacers’ suffocating defense held the Wizards to 66 points, the lowest total for an Indiana opponent since April 2004, in a dominating 93-66 victory. The Wizards hit just 5-of-20 shots in the third quarter and were outscored 48-29 over the final 24 minutes.
David West had 20 points and despite going 2-for-14 from the floor, Paul George had 14 rebounds and six assists. C.J. Watson hit all six of his shots and finished with 16 points, two off his season-high. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with a season-high 17 points and John Wall was limited to 13 in 39 minutes.
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/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Michael Grady (studio host)