March 22nd Game Recap: Wizards vs. Pacers
This game was a tale of two halves, as the Wizards lost a 20 point halftime lead and dropped this one, 87-85, to the Pacers on Thursday night at Verizon Center.
The first half was near flawless on both offense and defense as the Wizards built up a 51-31 lead. The Wiz shot 50% from the floor in the first half and held the Pacers to just 32% shooting. But, the Pacers turned the tables in the third quarter and fought their way back into the game. The fourth quarter was tight, but the Wizards were able to maintain the lead all the way until the final minute, when Paul George hit a huge 3-pointer to give the Pacers their first lead of the game. The Wizards had one last chance at the buzzer, but John Wall's floater in the lane was about a half second too late, and the Wizards would end the game on a sour note.
A frustrating loss, but there is a little time to dwell over this one, as the team now prepares for their first back-to-back-to-back stretch, which will be Saturday-Monday.
Jordan Crawford led the Wizards with 21 points, while John Wall added 16 points and nine assists.
Playing in his first game at Verizon Center as a member of the Wizards, Nene tallied six points and five rebounds.
Next, the Wizards will host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night at Verizon Center (7pm)
WIZARDS CENTER NENE:
On the game:
“It was a sour taste. You learn from this kind of loss. We had an amazing first half but we didn’t do enough to win tonight. I’m proud of the group. We saw the potential, especially with how well we played in the first half. It’s a step-by-step process. We have to learn from our mistakes and learn from this loss. We have to stick together, play hard and continue to have a tough mindset.”
On Roy Hibbert:
“He’s a great player. He plays hard and physical and he made a lot of great shots tonight to help them win.”
WIZARDS GUARD JOHN WALL:
On the last play:
“In the final minute every rebound went to the Pacers. It was frustrating and we just couldn’t get the ball. That was just a great job on their end of just rebounding, and tipping the ball out. The play for us was set for me to find Jordan Crawford on a flat screen. I didn’t see him open for a split second. I tried to create something, but there wasn’t enough spacing for me to create. I really didn’t know if I beat the buzzer when I finally released my shot. I didn’t think I had that much time.”
On playing with Nene:
“We are still getting used to how he plays. We know when he post up he likes to look for a cuter. We have to start giving the ball up and cutting to the basket and keep our spacing. He’s a really good passer and we will see that once we all get used to his game.”
On losing the lead:
“This isn’t the first time this has happened to us. We know how it feels to lose a big lead. We also know how it feels to slowly chip at lead to come back and win a game. This one hurts to me personally. Just not enough spacing and execution late hurt us late tonight.”
WIZARDS HEAD COACH RANDY WITTMAN:
On the game:
“It was disappointing to lose this game after battling the way we did. It became a struggle for us after that first quarter offensively. We really ran things, got out in transition, made shots during the first half. Indiana struggled in the first half offensively, then they got their rhythm going a little bit and we lost ours in the second half.”
On the last sequence:
“We couldn’t get a rebound. Indiana got three or four offensive rebounds and we lost the inbound pass but we still had a chance to tie at the end of the game. It just didn’t go our way.”
On what changed offensively:
“Indiana is a good team. Sometimes when you score easily which we did in the first quarter, you think it’s going to be that way the whole night. I thought that we got away from doing what had worked in the first half, working to get open to create the next stop. We started our offense at half court three or four times the last five minutes of the game.”