Game Rewind: Pacers 90, Wizards 97

Game Rewind

The injury wave refuses to relent against the Pacers, but the Pacers refuse to relent, too.

Despite a sixth consecutive loss on Saturday night, Indiana mounted an impressive second-half comeback bid after Roy Hibbert -- the lone remaining member of the preseason starting lineup -- left the game with a bruised left knee in the second quarter. He's day-to-day.

In the end, the Wizards defeated the Pacers 97-90 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, but as has been the case all season, Indiana showed fight and cut a 22-point first-half deficit to just three as late as the 6:01 mark in the fourth quarter before Washington pulled away for good.

The inspired effort was led by Solomon Hill, who poured in a career-high 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting to go along with six rebounds and three steals. Chris Copeland added 14 points, Donald Sloan had 13 and Damjan Rudez had nine off the bench, all from beyond the arc (3-for-4). Luis Scola was only 1-of-4 from the field for three points, but pulled down eight rebounds.

Sloppy play early put the Pacers in a big hole, as Indiana committed 12 turnovers in the first 15 minutes of play after giving the ball away just 13 times all game against the Celtics in Boston the night before. But after falling behind by 19 at the half, things changed.

The Pacers reeled off 30 points in the third quarter while holding the Wizards to 19, making the game interesting the rest of the way.

"We were down, and guys were upset about being down" said Frank Vogel, who has seen his team lose its top seven players to injury now that Hibbert has been added to the list. "I don't know if the effort wasn't there in the first half, but the execution wasn't. That's the NBA: teams that get down in the first half typically find a second burst, and I'm proud of the way they came out in the second half and played the whole second half."

Hill was responsible for 12 of Indiana's 30 third-period points as the Pacers ignited the Fieldhouse crowd by cutting the deficit to eight entering the fourth, at 73-65. Hill wasn't done, adding eight more in the fourth, including two buckets that kept Indiana within three points midway through the final period.

"I kind of knew that I was going to be able to stay with these guys," Hill said. "I competed against Paul George every day. Playing against him, even if I was sitting the bench, I knew that there was a reason why I was here. So I'm just taking full advantage of this opportunity, but the key thing that we have to do now is win a game."

"Solomon played his heart out," Vogel said. "He played terrific. He's going to be a big part of what we do this year. He's got great toughness and he's finding his way on the offensive end, as you saw tonight for 28 points. I think he's got a chance to be one of our better two-way players with the way he guards. I'm very proud of his development."

After Hill's jumper made it 83-80 with 6:48 remaining, Washington recovered and held off Indiana's furious run. John Wall led the Wizards with 18 points on 7-of-13 from the field. Nene added 17 points while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five assists. Paul Pierce and Marcin Gortat added 12 apiece, though eight of Pierce's 12 came at the free-throw line (2-for-13 from the floor). Kevin Seraphin had 13 points in 20 minutes off the bench.

In their last three games, the Pacers have fallen 96-94 in overtime at Washington, 101-98 to the Celtics in Boston, and by seven after trailing by 22 on Saturday. As frustrating as it has been for Indiana to start the season 1-6 with another key player injured seemingly every night, there is still something to be said for what this team is doing.

"We're a team full of fighters," Copeland said. "We're not gonna quit. We just didn't get the result we wanted today."

Inside the Numbers

Collectively, the Pacers shot 43 percent and continued to struggle from the free-throw line, at which they were just 16-of-25 (64 percent). Washington shot 48 percent and was 17-of-23 (74 percent) from the line.

After owning the paint against Boston on Friday at TD Garden, the Pacers were outscored 48-34, mainly as a result of losing Hibbert. Indiana was also outrebounded, 49-38.

You Can Quote Me On That

"I try to coach them with what I think is a reasonable standard for the situation. The minutes they're playing, the newness, the inexperience and all that stuff, I just try to have a reasonable standard." -- Frank Vogel on his expectations for the team given the injury situation.

"There's people's expectations and then there are our expectations as a team. We know we can win games. We know we can be a top team in the Eastern Conference. We're right there every game. We don't have any doubt in our minds that we can win games. We have to just keep chipping away. I think it's gonna turn in our favor. I think it's just a test early on. Some teams can come out here after three hard-fought games and just give up. We were down 20 and we came back. And we believe in each other. That's one thing we have to do is just keep believing in each other and just come out and execute." -- Solomon Hill on what the Pacers expect from themselves.

"We didn't tap out. We put ourselves once again in a position to get the 'W' and we've been doing that all season long. We just haven't figured out a way to get over the hump. And I think we will, it's just we have to keep that same fight and do it a lot earlier." -- Chris Copeland on the positive takeaway from the game.

"We're finding out what Damo (Rudez) can do, finding out what Cope can do, what Cope can't do, what Solomon can do, what Solomon can't do, and we're asking too much of guys that are not used to carrying this load. They've just got to do their best with it and hopefully it results in some wins. We're just trying to weather the storm, that's all it's about: weather the storm." Frank Vogel on what he's learning and what type of feel he's getting in these games despite the adversity.

"I think just the back-to-backs are different -- so many so early. It's just different for me. I don't think a specific factor is just nagging on me. We have numerous rest days, we have a lot of treatment times, and you definitely have to watch what you do off the court. But I think I feel pretty good playing the minutes that I'm playing. And I wouldn't trade it for the world; I definitely just have to watch what I do and just stay active. There's not too many guys that can say they're playing whatever amount of minutes I'm playing right now in the NBA." -- Solomon Hill on whether he feels fatigued playing as many minutes as he's been playing for the first time in his NBA career.

Stat of the Game

After the 12 turnovers in the first 15 minutes of the game, the Pacers began taking care of the ball, turning it over just six times the rest of the way. Washington scored 22 points off Indiana's miscues.


  • Frank Vogel provided an updated timetable on his injured players after the game, saying that David West (sprained right ankle) and C.J. Watson (bruised right foot) are both targeted for a return toward the end of next week, George Hill (left knee contusion) will not likely be back until December, Rodney Stuckey (strained foot) would be reevaluated early next week, and C.J Miles (migraines) would be reevaluated Sunday.
  • Over the last three games, Solomon Hill is 20-for-39 (51 percent) from the field.
  • After beginning the season 10-for-20 from 3-point range, Chris Copeland is just 4-for-23 (17 percent) in his last three games.
  • Before hitting three of four 3-point attempts on Saturday, Damjan Rudez was 0-for-6 from long range on the season.
  • Former Pacers player Rasual Butler had nine points on 4-of-7 shooting in 18 minutes off the bench against his former team.