Game Rewind: Pacers 85, Wizards 63, Game 3
Friday, May 9 at 8:00 PM ET at Verizon Center
Game Rewind: Pacers 85, Wizards 63, Game 3
Scott Agness | May 9, 2014
The Pacers got back to their identity, playing smashmouth basketball – a term coach Frank Vogel has been using since he took over in 2011 – with their defense leading the way. Their smothering defense didn’t allow more than 18 points in a quarter all night and helped lead to offense at the other end.
It was an historic defensive performance by the Pacers Friday night in our nation’s capital. They held the Wizards to 63 points, a franchise playoff low for both the home team and an Indiana opponent. As a result of their dominant display of defense, the Pacers earned a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and have taken back homecourt advantage.
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The Wizards were active on the glass early – particularly forward Trevor Ariza, who had four offensive rebounds and six of their first 10 points. Indiana answered an 11-2 run by Washington with seven straight points, but then John Wall sank a 19-foot jumper as the first period concluded to even the game at 17. Eight of the Wizards’ 17 points were scored on second-chance opportunities. They just scored two points on three offensive rebounds over the final three quarters.
Indiana’s offense continued to struggle but it was their defense that kept them tight. Despite shooting 29 percent through the first quarter-and-a-half and having a double-digit deficit on the boards, they trailed by just five. The Pacers have talked previously about mucking it up, and that’s exactly what they did. Late in the half, they went on a 13-1 run while the Wizards failed to hit a field goal in nearly five minutes.
Montieth: Pacers Quiet the Storms »
Neither team was efficient on the offensive end through the first two quarters. They combined for 67 points, with Indiana holding a one-point advantage, 34-33.
Much like their defense of old, the Pacers put up a dominant display in the third quarter. They outscored the Wizards 22-4 to start the frame, including 12 straight, and took the lead for good on a deep 3-pointer from George Hill. The Pacers’ lead swelled to 15 by quarter’s end as the Wizards managed just five field goals and missed six foul shots in the period.
The Pacers maintained their distance in the fourth quarter as the Wizards never were able to narrow the gap to single digits. Hill dialed it up from long distance again with less than two minutes to go, putting the Pacers up by 20. The Wizards, who were riding high after a Game 1 win in Indy, struggled in front of a sold-out Verizon Center and will clearly look to come back with a stronger performance in Game 3.
The series continues on Sunday night with Indiana looking to get a victory and return home able to put Washington away for good in Game 5.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George scored a game-high 23 points, nine coming at the free throw line. Roy Hibbert put up double-figure numbers in consecutive games for the first time in more than a month, contributing 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Luis Scola added 11 points off the bench and Lance Stephenson was solid all around, with nine points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Wizards shot below 33 percent and every one of their players struggled offensively. Bradley Beal, who missed seven of his first eight shots, topped the team in scoring with 16 points. John Wall tallied 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting. With 12 points and 15 rebounds, Trevor Ariza recorded his second double-double of the postseason.
In all six of the Pacers’ postseason wins, they’ve held their opponent below 90 points. They also improve to 52-3 this season when taking a lead into the fourth quarter.
Washington turned the ball over 18 times that Indiana, who committed just 10 turnovers, converted into 21 points.
“It was a good win but we’re in no way satisfied. We’re playing against a great basketball team here and we have to keep coming back for more in Game 4.” – Frank Vogel
“That’s what we want to be. We had great regular season success by being a dominant defensive team – limiting the 3-ball, keeping teams out of transition, limiting teams to one shot, being a dominant defensive rebounding team – and that’s who our identity is. As you get further and further into the playoffs it gets tougher and your margin for error is more slim.” – Frank Vogel getting back to their defensive ways
“Defense is what we hang our hats on so if you’re a guy that loves defense, we’re your team.” – Paul George
“Keep two bodies in front of John Wall in transition, try to make sure [Bradley] Beal took tough, contested shots, and make sure we protect the 3-point line.” – Roy Hibbert on the keys defensively
“Anytime you got a team whose playing for each other … looking to open up shots for other teammates, you’re always going to get great looks. That’s what we continue to do.” – George Hill on the importance of taking care of the ball
“We got so many pieces that when we penetrate and dish and find each other, the games comes easy for us. We just got to keep playing that Pacers basketball of sharing the ball and not getting into the one-on-one game and we’ll be alright.” – Lance Stephenson
Stat of the Game
The Pacers limited the Wizards to 63 points, a new franchise record for fewest points allowed in the playoffs. (They held them to 66 points during a regular season meeting back on Jan. 10.)
- The winner of Game 3 in a best-of-seven series has gone on to win the series 75.9 percent of the time (154-49), via ESPN.
- Luis Scola received a technical foul in the second quarter.
- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was in attendance.
Game 4: Sunday, May 11 at Washington – 8 p.m. ET | Game 4 Preview »