Game Rewind: Wizards 104, Pacers 90
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FROM THE LOCKER ROOM
PACERS COACH JIM O'BRIEN
On the Wizards: “They’re a pretty athletic team. They really killed us on the glass. They were much quicker to the glass than we were. They’re a different basketball team. Their record doesn’t indicate how talented they are right now with (John) Wall and Josh Howard and (Rashard) Lewis. They’re a very talented team and they had too much for us tonight.”
On the Wizards energy: “I think they’re extremely athletic. I think sometimes when you see athleticism versus guys that aren’t quite as athletic it looks like energy when, in fact, I thought our guys played with good energy, but (the Wizards) are just tremendously athletic.”
On the game: “We held them to about 29% in the first half and they had 13 offensive rebounds. We should have had the lead at halftime. You can’t live on the perimeter the entire game. You need an inside/outside attack and we certainly did not have that tonight.”
PACERS GUARD MIKE DUNLEAVY
On his mindset in the third quarter “I was just trying to get it going offensively. I have been struggling lately for our team. It’s still a work in process. The best I can do is just try and be efficient, knock down shots and get the ball moving.”
PACERS FORWARD JOSH McROBERTS
On the Wizards athleticism: “(They are) probably one of the most athletic teams in the league. You saw them out there. They are a tough cover with all the athletes they have. Obviously, their big guys are athletic, long athletic, and Wall is one of the faster guys in the league. They are long, got quickness, athletic with bodies coming at you. They are all trying to get dunks every play. So you have to try and keep them off the boards.”
PACERS FORWARD DANNY GRANGER
On the Wizards defense: “Honestly, they played good defense, give credit to them.”
On the Pacers offensive struggles: “We’re not getting much of anything going offensively. Even the shots that we are making they are challenging shots. Especially tonight, they come down and they will break us down and they will shoot wide-open jump shots, and we don’t get many open looks. It’s been like that for the last four or five games. Our offense has been really poor right now. Even when we move, we are not cutting with a purpose, we are not moving with a purpose.”
WIZARDS ASSISTANT COACH RANDY WITTMAN
“As I told the guys afterwards, I’m really happy for them. Since we made the deal in bringing Rashard here, and Josh getting healthy, John getting healthy, we’ve taken some great strides. I don’t know what the games are. I don’t want to make a number but the last four, five, six games, whatever it is, of playing and competing against some really good teams, with a chance to win and just haven’t been able to close games out. We did the same thing. That’s what I tried to relay to those guys in the huddle. We’re here again and we got to believe that we’re going to close this out. I’m really happy for them.”
On the game: “We had some weird things happen tonight. Kirk goes out at halftime. John goes out with cramps. I asked Josh to play the point. Cartier hadn’t played at all. He comes in and plays as big as you can play without playing leading up to that time. I was really proud of JaVale. He came in tonight and played Hibbert as good as we’ve seen leading up to this game watching tape on Hibbert, which he didn’t do last year. Those are the kind of things that add up to victory. To win 104-90, shooting 39 percent that says something to our defense.”
WIZARDS GUARD JOHN WALL
On how close he is to 100 percent healthy: “I’m pretty close. The bone bruise still aggravates from time to time. I think just being out there on the court with my teammates, giving them extra boost and being a leader. I don’t have to score all the points. I can assist and lead the team. I think I did a great job of that tonight, finding the hot people at the right time.”
WIZARDS FORWARD ANDRAY BLATCHE
On the win: “I’m so proud of this team tonight. We finally were able to lock down in the fourth quarter and stayed focus on shutting them down.”
On Nick Young: “I’ve never seen him get so many rebounds before but I’m proud of his effort. He is really starting to step up and come into his own on the court.”
WIZARDS CENTER JAVALE McGEE
On the defensive effort: “I felt like our defensive play was very strong tonight. Everyone was playing hard on defense and communicating. I knew I had to front Roy (Hibbert) every time he tried to get in the paint tonight. The game plan was to stop him tonight and we did.”
WIZARDS GUARD NICK YOUNG
On his career-high nine rebounds: “I thought I had 10 (rebounds) but I actually had nine. It could have been my first career double-double.”
On playing up tempo: “It’s good to speed the game up sometimes so we don’t have to rely on John Wall every time.”
Pacers hit another bump in the road
The bumps in the road just keep getting bigger and more jarring for the Indiana Pacers.
Facing a struggling Washington team with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, the Pacers not only played down to the competition, they went well beneath it, falling 104-90 to the Wizards before 16,108 in Verizon Center Wednesday night.
Washington started the fourth quarter with a 17-5 run to build an 89-72 lead and the Pacers could get no closer than eight the rest of the way despite a strong effort from Mike Dunleavy, who scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half.
Nick Young scored 25 and Andray Blatche 22 to lead the Wizards, but it was the aggressive, up-tempo play of No. 1 pick John Wall, who had 10 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds off the bench, that made the biggest difference in the second half.
The Pacers lost their seventh consecutive road game and dropped to 13-17, 5-9 on the road. They’ve lost three in a row overall and seven of nine and are 4-10 in December. Washington snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 8-22, 8-7 at home.
- “They’re a pretty athletic team. They really killed us on the glass. They were much quicker to the glass than we were. They’re a different basketball team. Their record doesn’t indicate how talented they are right now with (John) Wall and Josh Howard and (Rashard) Lewis. They’re a very talented team and they had too much for us tonight." -- Pacers coach Jim O'Brien
- “We’re not getting much of anything going offensively. Even the shots that we are making they are challenging shots. Especially tonight, they come down and they will break us down and they will shoot wide-open jump shots, and we don’t get many open looks. It’s been like that for the last four or five games. Our offense has been really poor right now. Even when we move, we are not cutting with a purpose, we are not moving with a purpose.” -- Pacers forward Danny Granger
- “We go to Indianapolis and play the same team without a game in between for either one of us. We just got to go out and fulfill getting our first win on the road. We’ve set ourselves up on the road lately to be in a position to do it. I would think our guys would be confident going into Indianapolis after just beating them and trying to get that job done.” -- Wizards assistant coach Randy Wittman
- “It’s going to be a tough game on Friday against Indiana. They know exactly what they did wrong tonight and will be able to correct it. They also know what worked well for us tonight and will be coming up with ways to stop us so we are going to have to come up with a new game plan so we can grab a win.” -- Wizards center Javale McGee.
STAT OF THE GAME
Danny Granger had just 15 points on 7-of-18 shooting, and the Pacers dropped to 3-11 when he fails to score at least 20 points and 3-13 when he fails to shoot at least 40 percent from the field.
The Wizards came out ice cold, shooting 29 percent in the first quarter and missing nine of their first 10 shots in the second but the Pacers could only nurse a 27-25 lead – despite 7-of-31 shooting from the home team – because Washington enjoyed advantages on the offensive glass and the free-throw line.
Once the Wizards started hitting some shots midway through the second quarter, they quickly put together a 10-2 run to take a 44-40 lead but a reverse dunk by Josh McRoberts and a pick and pound by Danny Granger tied it at 44-all at the break.
Granger’s only 3-pointer of the game put the Pacers up 51-48 early in the third but when Roy Hibbert picked up his fifth foul a little more than four minutes into the half, the Wizards pounced with a 12-3 run to take a 60-54 lead. Dunleavy was the only offensive threat the rest of the period, scoring 11 of the Pacers’ final 16 points, including a four-point play that cut the deficit to 72-67 entering the fourth quarter.
Things quickly went south from there as the Wizards hit eight of nine shots in their 17-5 run to build a 17-point lead. A pair of 3-pointers by Dunleavy sparked a 12-3 run by the Pacers, cutting the gap to 92-84. They had the ball and a chance to get closer but Darren Collison was called for a questionable charge against an apparently sliding Rashard Lewis, who answered with a 3-pointer at the other end to spark an 8-0 run that put it away.
BY THE NUMBERS
The Pacers continued to struggle for offense, shooting just .412 overall with as many turnovers as assists (17). Dunleavy shot 6-of-10 overall, 4-of-7 from the arc, and had six rebounds and two assists to accompany his 20 points. Granger started 1-of-7 and wound up with 15 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. McRoberts scored 13 with eight rebounds. Hibbert had just five points and four rebounds in 15 foul-plagued minutes.
Young needed 26 shots to get his 25 points, adding nine rebounds. Blatche needed 23 shots to get his 22, adding 11 boards. But the Wizards offered up plenty of opportunities for extra shots with their 21 offensive rebounds, a season-high for an Indiana opponent. Javale McGee had 16 points, 10 boards and four blocks. Cartier Margin 11, and Lewis 10 with six rebounds. Wall did not start the game but did start the second half and threatened a triple-double. The Wizards won despite shooting .398 from the field.
- The Pacers’ last seven losses all have come by double-figure margins, with an average deficit of 14.1 points.
- The Wizards were without Coach Flip Saunders, who had to leave the team to attend to a family emergency involving his mother. Indianapolis native and former Indiana University and Pacers player Randy Wittman handled the bench duties for Washington.
- Jeff Foster and Dahntay Jones, who both played in Tuesday’s loss to Boston, were inactive for the game, as was rookie Lance Stephenson.
- Rookie Paul George made his first appearance in 17 games, playing the final 2:23.
- Dunleavy returned to the starting lineup despite needing stitches to close a laceration over his right eye, the result of an accidental head-butt with Boston’s Nate Robinson Tuesday. The wound seeped in the first quarter, requiring additional bandaging, but Dunleavy remained in the game.
- After Hibbert was limited to just 7½ first-half minutes by foul trouble, O’Brien gambled and left him in the game after the young center picked up his fourth just 90 seconds into the second half. It didn’t pay off as Hibbert picked up his fifth foul less than three minutes later and headed back to the bench. He wound up playing just 15 minutes.
- Indiana’s starters have been outscored in 10 straight games by an average of 11.3 points.
- The Pacers are 3-10 when opponents score at least 100 points.
The Pacers return home for a rematch with these same Wizards on a special New Year’s Eve game that starts at 3 p.m. (WIBC 93 FM). Washington will be going for its first road victory of the season.
--Conrad Brunner, Pacers.com