Sunday, May 11 at 8:00 PM ET at Verizon Center
Game Rewind: Pacers 95, Wizards 92, Game 4
Scott Agness | May 11, 2014
The Pacers rallied from 19 points down and outscored the Washington Wizards by 20 in the second half en route to a 95-92 win at the Verizon Center Sunday night. After dropping Game 1, they’ve won three straight games, including both road games, in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinals series. The Pacers have now taken a commanding 3-1 lead with the chance to close it out Tuesday night in front of their own fans.
Paul George was the catalyst, scoring 28 of his playoff career-high 39 points – just two points shy of Reggie Miller’s franchise record for the postseason – in the second half. He played all 24 minutes and equaled his playoff career-high for 47 minutes in a game. Postgame, coach Frank Vogel admitted that he thought about resting his star or at least moving him off of Bradley Beal but George replied, “I want the matchup.”
Indiana was aggressive from the start, with the G2 Zone leaders – George Hill and Paul George – teaming up for 20 of its 27 first quarter points. They shot 60 percent in the first period and scored 27 points, but the lead was just one, 27-26, as the tempo favored the Wizards.
The Wizards’ bench, led by ex-Pacers player Al Harrington (of all players), took the game to another level. It was a troubling start to the second quarter for the Pacers, who had as many turnovers (5) as field goals and were outscored 12-0 over the first 4:09 of the period. After turning the ball over just once in the first seven minutes, they gave it away 10 more times over the next 17 minutes, which the Wizards converted into 15 points.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman has stressed the importance of pace to his team in nearly every media session. It favored his team, who tallied 18 points in transition over the first 24 minutes – they had eight in all of Game 3 – to Indiana’s zero. The Pacers had their worst shooting quarter of the season, making just 3-of-17 shots as they were outscored by 18 points. Washington used a 15-4 run over the final 6:16 of the half to balloon ahead 55-38, topped off by a Drew Gooden block leading to a layup from John Wall as the half concluded.
Like clockwork, Indiana used a dominant third quarter to work itself back into the game. Roy Hibbert, who was limited to two points in the first half, keyed a 12-0 run with nine of his own. It wasn’t just the two-time All-Star's offensive contribution that provided a lift, though, as he also had seven rebounds and two rejections in the period. The Pacers outscored the Wizards 20-4 over the final six minutes of the third quarter to trim their deficit to one.
George knotted the game up at 74 with an and-1, but then the Pacers gave up nine straight points, including three layups. George, again, answered with back-to-back triples to make it a one-possession game. With 2:24 to play, George gave the Pacers’ their first lead since the end of the first quarter with two free throws.
The Wizards failed to hit a field goal in the final 4:39. 11 of the game’s last 13 points were tallied at the free throw line, and it was there where George gave Indiana the lead for good. The Wizards’ last-ditch effort was thrown away, literally, as Trevor Ariza’s inbounds pass sailed away and George, of course, snatched it up.
As the Pacers starters all played at least 38 minutes, the team officially has Monday off. A win on Tuesday will send them back to the conference finals for the second straight year.
Inside the Numbers
Paul George’s 39 points (on 12-of-20 shooting) was nine points better than his previous playoff career-best, against Atlanta in Game 7 of their First Round series. His seven 3-pointers are a playoff career-high and equals the franchise record shared by Reggie Miller and Chuck Person. It was just the third game all year that George didn’t record an assist (second time against the Wizards).
Roy Hibbert added 17 points, 5-of-7 at the free throw line, and nine rebounds. George Hill was good for 15 points; David West scored 14 and dished out a game-high eight assists. 93 of Indiana’s 95 points came from its starters.
The Wizards had six players reach double figures, led by Bradley Beal’s 20 points. With 16 points and nine rebounds, Trevor Ariza just missed out on a double-double. Al Harrington and Drew Gooden accounted for 11 and 10 points off the pine, respectively.
The Pacers improved to 5-0 in the playoffs when attempting more free throws than their opponent. They fired up 10 more than Washington and narrowly outscored the Wizards at the line by four points.
The Pacers have outscored the Wizards in every third quarter of this series, and by a total of 42 points, including 16 in Game 4.
“Paul George, what he did tonight was special – there’s no other way to put it.” – Frank Vogel
“We got great confidence in ourselves, particularly on the defensive end. We can go stretches of games without allowing a point and I think when you’re down big, I think you just understand that you’re capable of putting together a string of stops and that’s what you need to make a run.” – Frank Vogel
“Considering being down and the game not looking like it was going on our way … and just not panicking, this has got to be one of our greatest wins just because it was a collective group effort.” – Paul George
“I just thought we did a good job of setting our defense. We didn’t try to go for any home-run plays. … We were able to grind them down and put the pressure on them.” – David West
Stat of the Game
The Pacers controlled the pace in the second half, and did not give up a fast-break point after conceding 18 in the first half.
- The Pacers are 4-1 on the road this postseason; the Wizards dropped to 1-3 at home.
- Teams with a 3-1 series lead have gone on to win a best-of-seven playoff series 96 percent of the time (209 of 217), according Elias Sports Bureau.
- Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and receiver DeSean Jackson were courtside for the game.
Game 5: Tuesday, May 13 – 7 p.m. ET
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