By: Jeremy Hyman
The Pacers used their top ranked defense to hold the Wizards to just 73 points on 40% shooting as the Pacers went on to win 93-73 on November 29th in Indiana. Full Recap
Staggering Defense - The Pacers enter Friday night's game ranked first in the NBA in opponents points allowed (88.6), opponents field goal percentage (.411), and defensive rating (93.3). They have only given up 100 points in a game six times this season. They are a team that preaches defense and have a team full of good defenders. From their perimeter players like Paul George and Lance Stephenson, to their monster in the middle Roy Hibbert, the Pacers get after it on the defensive end. Although their defense has been outstanding all season long, they haven't been quite as dominant as they were when the Wizards last rolled into Indianapolis in late November when they were holding opponents to just 38.6% shooting.
Road Warriors - For whatever reason, the Wizards can't seem to lose on the road while they can't seem to win at home. They've now won six of their last seven on the road, while dropping six of seven at home. They are 2-0 on their current road trip and will look to sweep the trip with a win tonight. Based on the current trend, the Wizards will be happy to play another road game tonight, even if it's in Indiana, where the Pacers have lost just one time all season (17-1). If the Wizards can pull off the upset tonight, they may want to sleep in a hotel when they return home to Washington tomorrow and treat tomorrow night's #WizRockets game like another road game.
This will be a tough test for the Wizards and they'll need a complete team effort on both sides of the ball to beat Indiana. The Pacers are coming off a loss in Atlanta as they played that game without Lance Stephenson (knee). He nearly tallied a triple-double the last time these two teams played so his status could play a factor in the outcome of tonight's game. He's questionable to play tonight.
Wizards - John Wall scored 20 points on 3-4 shooting from 3-point range on Wednesday night in New Orleans. After scoring 20+ points in eight consecutive games, he went three straight games without reaching that mark before Wednesday. He'll look to continue the streak tonight in Indiana.
Pacers - Paul George is coming off a 28 point, 12 rebound effort on Wednesday night in a loss in Atlanta. The swingman is having a career season and will be a lock for the 2014 All-Star Game in February.
Jan Vesely - Jan Vesely is coming off a season-high 12 point, 7 rebound effort on Wednesday night in New Orleans. The energy he brought off the bench went unmatched and he was active on both sides of the ball. The Wizards will need some bench production to take down the Pacers, so look for Vesely to get out in transition and give the Wizards a spark tonight.
The action kicks off at 7:00pm in Indiana.
One of the more intriguing matchups of the night will be between Wizards defensive ace Trevor Ariza and the Pacers most dynamic offensive player, Paul George. It was Ariza who led the Wizards in scoring on Wednesday night with 21 points to go along with his 10 boards. Tonight, while the Wizards will take whatever offense they can get from TA, it will be his defense they need the most as he'll get the task of slowing down George. On November 29th, George scored 23 points on 10-19 shooting in the Pacers' win over the Wizards.
Ariza gets the steal and the slam.