Thursday, March 29 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Game Rewind: Pacers 93, Wizards 89
By Conrad Brunner
On an otherwise quiet night, Roy Hibbert found his voice when needed most.
The Pacers' All-Star center scored five points in a 7-2 run late in the fourth quarter that created just enough breathing room for the Pacers to survive their sixth game in eight nights with a 93-89 victory over Washington Thursday before 11,505 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Hibbert's three-point play put the Pacers up 87-82 with 2:48 remaining. The critical defensive stand came with the Pacers up 87-85 with less than a minute remaining. Jordan Crawford missed a wild 3-pointer but the Wizards controlled the offensive rebound. They threw away the second chance with an over-and-back violation with 22.9 seconds left.
Danny Granger, who scored a game-high 25, Hibbert and Darren Collison made their free throws in the closing seconds to seal Coach Frank Vogel's 50th victory with the Pacers, who improved to 30-20 overall, 16-7 at home.
Washington dropped to 11-39, 5-20 on the road.
BY THE NUMBERS
Granger shot 8-of-15, adding seven rebounds and two blocks to his 25-point outing. David West had 14 points and eight rebounds, and George Hill scored 14 off the bench. Hibbert scored seven of his nine points in the final 4:33. The Pacers shot just 39 percent for the game, 31 percent in the second half, but committed just 10 turnovers and had 19 assists, seven by Darren Collison.
Crawford scored 20 to lead the Wizards. Nene had 16 points and 13 rebounds, John Wall 13 points with five turnovers and just two assists, and Cartier Martin 10 for the Wizards. Washington shot 42 percent and outrebounded the Pacers 45-40 but committed 17 turnovers.
“I think our guys are a little fatigued and give them credit. They’ve got guys playing for jobs. They’re doing some good things over there. Nene is a good addition for them. And Randy Wittman is doing a good job." - Vogel
"We didn’t play as well as we can. They played a little harder than we did. These teams are very, very dangerous because they have nothing to play for now, but can build for next year. We’ve got to come and be prepared to play well every night, every game. Every game is very important to us now and we must get out there and get the job done every night." - West
"Last night’s game kind of stuck with us but we knew that we had to move on and put that game behind us. We’ve got to be more consistent night in and night out and continue to play hard." - Granger
"We knew what we had to do. We knew that we blew one last night and we can’t let that happen at home." - Hill
"You have to make simple, simple plays down the stretch. It might sound trivial or fundamental, but it has to be the easiest play you can make down the stretch and if it’s not, then you can’t take the chance. They’re busting their tails and playing hard, we just have to break through the barrier. Everybody wants to win and we’re putting ourselves in position to win every game. We just came up short." - Wizards Coach Randy Wittman
STAT OF THE GAME
Having concluded a stretch of six games in eight nights, the Pacers get one day off, then enter another stretch of six games in eight nights, with all six coming in back-to-back sets.
After Hibbert's 3-point play gave the Pacers a five-point lead in the closing minutes, the Pacers came up empty on their next three possessions but the Wizards managed just one bucket -- a 3-pointer by Crawford that made it 87-85 with two minutes left.
While the Pacers missed their first eight shots of the second half, the Wizards went on an 11-1 run to take their biggest lead, 60-53, as Nene scored six and drew Roy Hibbert's third and fourth fouls. Neither team shot well in the period -- Indiana was 5-of-19, while Washington was 6-of-18 -- but the Pacers got a spark off the bench from Hansbrough and scored the final seven of the quarter to take a 72-69 lead into the fourth quarter.
Granger and Hill came out hot, combining for 24 points and 7-of-9 shooting in the first quarter, but the Wizards surged to a 35-32 lead early in the second quarter. West then stepped in with a pair of buckets to start a nine-point Indiana run that put the Pacers in front, where they remained at halftime, 52-49.
West tweaked the injured pinky finger on his left hand in the final minute of the game, heading to the locker room to have it popped back into place before returning to the game. … A critical possession was subject to replay review in the final minute. Officials ruled Darren Collison deflected a pass out of bounds. Replay showed Washington's Chris Singleton appeared to step out of bounds while saving the ball prior to the deflection, but officials ruled the ball belonged to the Wizards. … Trevor Booker, who missed Washington's last game with tendinitis in his right knee, was back in the starting lineup. … The game was a homecoming for Wittman, who grew up in Indianapolis, starred at Ben Davis High and the University of Indiana, finished his playing career and launched his coaching career with the Pacers. He had several family members, including his daughter (a student at I.U.) in the crowd. … It also was a homecoming of sorts for rookie guard Shelvin Mack, who played at Butler University, helping the Bulldogs reach consecutive NCAA championship games.
The Pacers open their final set of consecutive road games Saturday in San Antonio against Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and the Spurs (8:30 p.m., Fox Sports Indiana, WIBC 93 FM). Indiana has dropped eight in a row overall to the Spurs and has lost 10 in a row in San Antonio dating back to 2002.