Monday, May 5 at 7:00 PM ET at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Preview: Pacers vs Wizards, Game 1
Scott Agness | Updated: May 4, 2014
The Pacers moved on to Round 2 after stringing two wins together to beat the Atlanta Hawks in seven games. For the third consecutive season, they are playing in the Eastern Conference Semifinals – this time against the Washington Wizards. These two teams have never before met in postseason play. The Wizards, coached by Randy Wittman, a Ben Davis High School product, advanced by beating the Chicago Bulls in five games in the first round.
Washington, the fifth seed, is in the playoffs for the first time in six seasons. John Wall, who’s averaging 18.8 points and 6.8 assists per game, is their leader at point guard. During their three regular season meetings, the Pacers held him to 13, eight, and 20 points, respectively. Paul George always gets up playing for him because Wall was the top overall pick in his 2010 draft class.
In Game 7 on Saturday night, George went off for a playoff career-best 30 points and 11 rebounds. He shined liked stars in the league do in high-profile games. Center Roy Hibbert reappeared, and rewarded coach Frank Vogel for sticking with him while he struggled, tallying 13 points, seven rebounds, and five blocks. It was an internal struggle for Hibbert for much of the series, but he gained confidence by going 4-of-5 from the field in the first quarter, and that fueled him on the defensive end.
The Wizards play much more of a regular formation than the Hawks, which favors the Pacers. Hibbert will face Marcin Gortat, who Washington acquired in an offseason trade, and David West will go against a fellow bruiser in the post, Nene. Battling against Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap in the first round should help in their defense of Wall and Nene, respectively.
The critical points in this series from the Pacers’ standpoint will be keeping turnovers to a minimum and thus the Wizards out of transition, containing Wall and winning the battle of the paint.
Indiana locked in on their game plan Sunday afternoon. They shot free throws and watched size-based personnel edits. Unlike last series, they want to start the series off on a positive note: with a win at home – especially after the Wizards upended the Bulls in five games last round by winning all three road games.
Pacers: Andrew Bynum (out, sore right knee)
“They got great balance. The bigs are very, very physical. They don’t have as many 3-point shooters as Atlanta does but the shooters that they have are great 3-point shooters. You put that kind of 3-point shooting support around John Wall and it makes it extremely difficult to guard John Wall. They’re a great transition getting out in the open court, so we got to limit our turnovers. If we don’t and they are able to get out on the break, it’s going to be a long series for us.” – Frank Vogel
“They fact that they won all three games in Chicago, they’re going to come in here with road confidence, so to speak. We got to make sure we put a stop to it right away.” – Frank Vogel
“John is one of my good friends and I’m proud of him. I’m proud of the step he’s taken and where he has his team now. He’s ready to take on that step as he shown playing against a tough Chicago team.” – Paul George on John Wall
“Playoff basketball is about playing perfect ball one possession at a time, one game at a time. And we didn’t value that so I think (the First Round) did raise our antennas and sharpened us up.” – Paul George
“They’re just physical. They’re a physical, beat-you-down type of team. John Wall is the head of the snake, gets them out in transition very well. They guard pretty good forcing turnovers and getting out on the break so we just have to limit that.” – George Hill
- The Pacers have won 12 straight home games over the Wizards and 15 of the last 19 meetings overall.
- Wizards forward Al Harrington was drafted by the Pacers in 1998. He played with the team from 1998-2004 and 36 games in 2006.
March 28: The Pacers had beaten the Miami Heat two nights prior, but were flat on this night in the nation’s capital. It was a poor shooting night for the Pacers as they failed to reach 80 points, were outscored 17-5 to end the third quarter, and trailed by as many as 21 points in a 91-78 loss. Washington, led by John Wall’s 20 points and eight assists, led the entire way.
Paul George scored 19 points and Lance Stephenson added 13. Luis Scola managed 10 points in less than 14 minutes of action. Marcin Gortat added 17 points and 12 rebounds. The Pacers shot a measly 35 percent and went 2-for-13 from downtown.
Broadcast Information | Find Local Listings »
TV: TNT - Ian Eagle, Chris Webber and Tracy Wolfson
NOTE: FOX Sports Indiana will air a postgame show immediately following the conclusion of Game 2, hosted by Chris Denari, Quinn Buckner, and Brooke Olzendam./>
Radio: FM 107.5/AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network – Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Slick Leonard (analyst), Kevin Lee (sideline reporter/host)
Ticket Information & Gold Out
Select seats remain for Monday's Game 1 against the Wizards. Find Tickets »
The Pacers have announced all fans in attendance for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup against the Washington Wizards will receive a free gold T-shirt upon arrival to their seats. Gold Out Returns »