Pacers at Wizards

Game Preview: Pacers at Wizards

Monday, May 3, 2021 at 7:00 PM ET at Capital One Arena

Pacers.com Game Preview presented by DraftKings

Matchup

After recording a historical blowout against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Pacers (30-33) are gearing up for a pivotal bout against Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal, and the Washington Wizards (29-35) on Monday night at Capital One Arena.

After Washington fell 125-124 to the Dallas Mavericks, Indiana now sits 1.5 games ahead of the Wizards in the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference. The Blue & Gold have a chance to both extend their lead and tie the season series when the teams face off Monday, with a final regular-season meeting coming up on May 8. If the standings remain the same, the teams will then battle in the playoff play-in game for a chance to grab the final East spot in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.

Indiana received a major offensive boost on Saturday thanks to the return of its All-Star, Domantas Sabonis. After missing the last six games with a sore lower back, the big man played big minutes against the Thunder. He tallied a triple-double before the end of the first half, becoming the third player in the play-by-play era (1997-98) to do so. The blowout allowed the forward to sit for the entire fourth quarter, helping ease his return-to-play.

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Sabonis will have to be effective once again, as the Wizards boast two of the most dynamic offensive playmakers in the NBA. Westbrook has been on a historical tear through the league as of late. The elite guard has recorded 17 triple-doubles in his last 20 appearances. Although he fell one assist shy of another one against the Mavs, he notched a game-high 42 points. He's just the second player in NBA history to record over 150 career triple-doubles (177) and has a chance to break Oscar Robertson's all-time record this season (181).

To add, the Pacers also will have to contain the offensive prowess of Beal, whose 31.0 points per game scoring average trails only Stephen Curry in the NBA's statistical leaders after Curry's incredible month of April. The duo will certainly be a threat as Indiana continues to play without most of its big men down the stretch.

Doug McDermott will also look to have a repeat performance on offense for the Blue & Gold in this matchup. The forward tallied a game-high 31 on 11-of-14 shooting, including 6-of-8 from deep, against the Thunder in a starting role.

Fans should be in for a high-scoring game as these two teams try to prove themselves worthy for a playoff spot with fewer than 10 games remaining in the regular season.

Projected Starters

Pacers: PG - Caris LeVert, SG - Edmond Sumner, SF - Doug McDermott, PF - Oshae Brissett, C - Domantas Sabonis
Wizards: PG - Russell Westbrook, SG - Raul Neto, SF - Bradley Beal, PF - Rui Hachimura, C - Alex Len

Injury Report

Pacers: Edmond Sumner - probable (bruised left knee), Goga Bitadze - questionable (left ankle sprain), Malcolm Brogdon - questionable (sore right hamstring), Jeremy Lamb - questionable (sore left knee), JaKarr Sampson - out (concussion), Myles Turner - out (partial plantar plate tear, right foot great toe), T.J. Warren - out (left foot stress fracture)

Wizards: Deni Avdija - out (right ankle fracture), Thomas Bryant - out (left ACL injury)

Last Meeting

March 29, 2021: Despite the absence of Bradley Beal, the Wizards picked up a 132-124 win over the Pacers at Capital One Arena. Led by a 35-point, 14-rebound, 21-assist triple-double from Russell Westbrook, Washington secured the win with a 22-6 run over the final 5:47 of the contest.

Westbrook's monster stat line overshadowed 35- and 26-point performances from Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon, respectively. The duo received little help throughout the game, as Myles Turner (11 points) and Justin Holiday (10 points) were the only other Pacers finishing in double figures.

Brogdon kept the Pacers afloat in the first, notching 11 points in the frame. Indiana used a 9-2 run over a 2:36 span to control the remainder of the period. They entered the second with a 28-24 lead.

The second quarter produced a tight affair, but the Pacers muscled out a 58-57 halftime lead behind Turner's defensive prowess. The big man swatted Rui Hachimura's layup attempt off the glass and into the hands of Caris LeVert. On the offensive side of the court, Brogdon found Sabonis for an easy hook. Sabonis then notched 1-of-2 free throws with 0.2 seconds left to grab the one-point edge.

The Pacers stumbled out of the gate in the third, surrendering two turnovers and a misfire in their first three possessions. The Wizards soon grabbed the lead. Indiana battled back, but Washington closed the frame with a 9-1 run over the final 1:10, including a buzzer-beating three from Raul Neto to take a 95-92 lead into the fourth.

A tight battle turned toward the Wizards' favor in the fourth. After Edmond Sumner banked in a layup with 5:47 to go, Indiana was held scoreless for the next 3:15. Westbrook and the Wizards piled on the points. His dagger three from the right wing with 44.8 seconds left extended Washington's lead to 128-120 and deflated Indiana's sails for good.

Noteworthy

  • Indiana leads the all-time series, 103-80.
  • The Pacers have won five out of the last seven contests against the Wizards.
  • The Blue & Gold are 19-14 on the road this season, tied for the best road record in the Eastern Conference.

Tickets

A limited number of tickets for all remaining Pacers home games are now on sale. Single Game Tickets »   Health & Safety Guidelines »

Broadcast Information TV & Radio Listings »

TV: Bally Sports Indiana - Chris Denari (play-by-play), Quinn Buckner (analyst), Jeremiah Johnson (studio host)
Radio: 93.5/107.5 The Fan - Mark Boyle (play-by-play), Pat Boylan (studio host)





by Brendan Rourke
Pacers.com Contributor

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