After a tough loss to the Charlotte Hornets in their season opener, the Pacers headed to the nation’s capital to take on the Washington Wizards inside Capital One Arena. The Blue & Gold sought revenge after getting bounced by the Wizards last year in the inaugural NBA Playoff Play-In Tournament.
But, despite their best efforts, the Pacers (0-2) fell by a single point yet again. The squad fell, 135-134 to the Wizards (2-0) after forcing overtime. With the score tied at 131 and 35.2 seconds left in the extra frame, Davis Bertans hit the go-ahead 3-pointer to put Washington ahead for good. After Chris Duarte’s attempt came up short, Kyle Kuzma hit 1-of-2 free throws to seal the deal. Indiana overcame a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force the extra period.
The loss overshadowed a career-high 40-point night for Myles Turner. Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis each tallied 28 apiece, while Duarte added 15. The Blue & Gold fought hard but just could not get the Wizards off their long-range game. The hosts finished 19-of-38 from deep.
“It’s frustrating, from a personal standpoint,” Turner said of the loss despite his performance. “...But, as a team, this one hurts. These are two games that we could’ve won.”
Turner tallied the first seven Pacers points to give the Blue & Gold a decent start. However, Washington started 3-of-3 from deep, putting the Wizards ahead 11-7 with 8:52 to go in the first.
Later, Turner took control again. Trailing 21-19, he drilled a 28-foot trey from the left side. On the ensuing defensive possession, he swatted away Kuzma’s floater. Then, he hustled down the court, received the rock at the key, and completed a tough and-one drive to the paint. The seven-footer put Indiana up 24-21 with 3:29 to play. Turner finished the quarter with 16 points as Indiana led 36-32 after one.
Early in the second, Indiana continued to find its big men for production. This time, Sabonis was on the receiving end. The two-time All-Star tallied seven of the Pacers’ first nine points of the period to grab a 45-36 lead at the 9:57 mark.
However, the lead was short-lived as the Wizards continued to use the long ball effectively. Three triples – two from Bertans – sparked a 13-0 run by the hosts midway through the second quarter. Suddenly, the Blue & Gold found themselves trailing 54-48 with 6:56 to go.
But, Indiana kept on fighting. Trailing by five, the Pacers quickly tied the game up with a three from Sabonis, and a steal-and-finish from Duarte with 4:06 to play.
From there, the remainder of the frame stayed close as both teams traded threes. Brogdon started the party with his first from deep. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope answered. Turner added another. Then, it was Dinwiddie’s turn. As time ticked down, Indiana got the last laugh. Duarte, the stone-cold rookie, finished the half with a buzzer-beating baseline trey. The squads were tied, 73-73, at the break.
The Pacers etched out an 82-78 lead after the first four minutes of the third behind a 7-0 spree, including five from Justin Holiday. It was the veteran’s first points of the game after coming up empty in the first half.
From there, the teams remained in close combat. Indiana found offense through Brogdon, whose 16-foot fadeaway jumper pushed the Pacers ahead 86-83. Meanwhile, the Wizards kept using the long ball. Raul Neto’s pull-up triple knotted things up with 5:22 to go.
With the Pacers leading 92-90 and 3:42 left in the third, the Wizards rattled off 14 unanswered points to create some separation. T.J. McConnell finally stopped the bleeding with a driving floater off the backboard at the 1:18 mark to cut the Pacers’ deficit to 104-94. After the teams traded a pair, Indiana still found itself down 10 entering the fourth.
A 7-2 Pacers run, five from Turner, cut the squad’s deficit to 108-103 with 9:02 to play. 1:45 later, Turner spotted up from beyond the arc yet again. He promptly drilled his fifth triple of the night to bring Indiana back to within one possession of the lead (113-110).
The Pacers finally regained a one-point lead, 116-115, after Brogdon connected on a 16-footer with 4:20 remaining. The Blue & Gold added four more to stretch their lead to five with 2:30 to go. 35 seconds later, Duarte nailed a cold-blooded three from the top of the key, giving Indiana a 123-117 lead. The Blue & Gold had a few chances to extend it even further but came up empty. The squad led 123-120 with 40.3 seconds remaining. The Wizards had possession.
After a timeout, Dinwiddie squared up against Duarte. Despite a great contest, Dinwiddie drilled a 27-foot 3-pointer to knot things up at 123 apiece.
On the Pacers’ ensuing possession, Brogdon drove the paint and tried to kick out to a teammate on the wing. But, the pass was intercepted by Neto. Dinwiddie’s game-winning attempt fell short as time expired. The teams went into overtime.
Indiana struck first in the extra period as Duarte found Sabonis for an easy finish in the paint. The bucket started a run of six straight for the Blue & Gold. During the run, Turner hit the 40-point mark on a putback tip after an offensive rebound with 3:05 to go.
However, Washington quickly came back. Dinwiddie’s sixth triple of the night tied things up at 129 apiece with 1:57 to go. The teams remained tied, 131-131 with a minute to play.
After Indiana was called for an offensive foul, Bertans fired in a triple to put the Wizards up 134-131 with 35.2 to go. On the Pacers’ next possession, Duarte’s potential game-tying three hit the front of the rim. Kuzma then hit 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to push the game just out of reach.
Inside the Numbers
The Pacers committed 12 turnovers that turned into 26 points for the Wizards. In contrast, Indiana forced just nine turnovers for 10 points
For the second game in a row, the Pacers won the battle on the boards (42-38)
Indiana outscored the Wizards in the paint, 62-48
You Can Quote Me On That
“It definitely sucks, you know. These hurt. Playing so many minutes, losing by one point in overtime in this game. But, we just have to look at the bright side. We did do a lot of good things. Tomorrow’s another fight. We just have to wash this away.” – Sabonis on the two close losses to start the season
“That’s what we signed up for. We recover tonight. We get in late, handle our business in the morning, and we get ready to play tomorrow. I think from a mental standpoint, you can’t let this dawn on you .” – Turner on his mentality as the second night of a back-to-back approaches
Stat of the Night
The Pacers have not started 0-2 since the 2015-16 season
- The Pacers have lost four straight regular-season games against the Wizards
- Justin Holiday appeared to tweak his left ankle in the third quarter. He did not see playing time in the fourth
- The Pacers have not started 0-2 since the 2015-16 season
The Pacers host Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat for Opening Night presented by Gainbridge on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 7:00 PM ET. Secure your seats today and help fill Gainbridge Fieldhouse to cheer on your Pacers. Find Tickets »