Down by two with 10.3 seconds left, Washington inbounded the ball after a timeout and got the ball to Beal. He got past his defender and unleashed a floater from the foul line, it didn’t drop and Indiana got the rebound. They were immediately fouled and Joseph split the pair, giving Washington one more chance with 5.2 seconds left. Again the ball was inbounded to Beal, this time at the top of the circle. He calmly evaded a defender and took a three pointer, it was a quality look, but like the floater, it didn’t fall. Mike Scott grabbed the offensive rebound and hustled to get behind the three point line for a desperation heave, that was off target. The Washington Wizards would fall to the Indiana Pacers 98-95 after battling back from a 17 point deficit, the whole they were in was just too deep. It would be the third consecutive game Washington lost as well.
“I had another opportunity for a three at the end, they ran out. It was an easy pump-fake, just a three I should have just hit, plain and simple. Great plays that coach drew up.” – Bradley Beal
It was a big win for Indiana as they had trailed the Wizards by a game, the win gave them fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Victor Oladipo won he battle of All-Star guards as he finished with 33 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 steals. Former Wizards, Bojan Bogdanovic had a good night against his former team, scoring 20 points and knocking down three triples. Washington was led by a 22 point, 11 assist effort from Bradley Beal. Otto Porter started slow, but finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals. With Kelly Oubre missing the game due to soreness in his right foot, Washington got contributions from Jodie Meeks, Ian Mahinmi, and Mike Scott off their bench. The Wizards didn’t shoot the ball well, but that wasn’t the reason they lost this one. There was a drastic difference between the defense played by the starters and second unit. They don’t have long to think about this loss as a division foe comes to Capital One on Tuesday night, Miami.
For the first time in their last three games, turnovers weren’t the biggest issue for the Wizards in the first half. They started sluggish on the defensive end and Indiana took advantage of the space and opportunity they were given. Oladipo led the charge early for his team, attacking Washington in both transition and in the half court. No matter who was guarding him, he had no issue getting to where he wanted, scoring 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Morris started off hot for the Wizards, keeping them in it early when Indiana was on their run. The Pacers held Washington to just 33% shooting in the period, using their length and athleticism to bother Wizards players. Scott Brooks was issued a technical foul with 2:33 left in the quarter. He was rather animated about a missed call, well a no-call involving Beal. Brad got a steal on the defensive end and tried to dunk on Oladipo in transition, he missed the dunk and took a spill. On the replay and in live action it appeared that Victor had got a piece of Beal’s arm.
The second quarter started good for the Wizards, trailing by 10, they went on a 12-0 run after Indiana scored the first three points of the quarter. The second unit along with Porter were responsible for said run. They dug in defensively and generated turnovers and missed shots. During that run, there was a sequence that stood out. Frazier got a screen from Scott, he delivered a pocket pass to the rolling big, Scott caught it and attacked the rim. As he gathered to jump, Mahimi’s man rotated over and Mike made the easy pass to Ian for the dunk. Their tenacity as a unit really helped Washington get back into it. The once 13 point lead was cut to three at one point. Then the Pacers began to respond, it was Oladipo yet again at the charge of it, starting with a pull up jumpshot . Porter did a good job of refusing to settle for jump shots, attacking the rim and drawing fouls.
With 2:50 left in the half, Washington had cut the deficit to just five. They then turned it over and committed a silly foul, Frazier hit Vic’s elbow on a step-back three point attempt and Oladipo hit all three free throws. Washington would trail by 10 at the half, despite committing four less turnovers than Indiana. Markieff led Washington with 10 points on perfect(4-of-4) shooting, Oladipo led all scorers with 19 points.
The Pacers continued their strangle hold on the Washington offense to start the second half. Defensively it was clear that both Thaddeus Young and Cory Joseph were helping off of their assignments to clog things up for Beal in both screen/roll and iso situations. On the offensive end, Oladipo continued to give them fits. Getting into the lane at ease and either finishing or kicking it out to his shooters. When Washington was able to generate open shots, those not named Porter failed to knock them down. Otto rebounded from his first half in which he shot just 1-for-7 and scored nine points in the period on perfect shooting(4-of-4). The Wizards also held the Pacers to 41% shooting from the floor, but they trailed by 15 heading into the fourth.
“We came from behind with that lineup, and I was going to roll the dice. I thought they deserved the chance to win the game.” – Scott Brooks
Down by double-digits yet again, Washington went with a unit that meshed Beal and Porter with a couple members of the second unit. Ian Mahinmi, Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott played the entire fourth quarter. Brooks said that it was because they were the ones that helped get “momentum” along with Tim Frazier. Their reward was to let them try and see things through. Beal came alive in the fourth, scoring 13 points. Mahinmi and Scott neutralized what Indiana was doing with the Oladipo-Turner screen/rolls. Morris and Gortat didn’t do a good enough job, either helping when they shouldn’t on the drive or by not protecting the rim. Scott has the athleticism to not only stay or recover to Turner, but switch on to guards all together at times. Ian did a good job protecting the rim, blocking a shot and altering several others.
A 7-0 run by the Wizards cut the deficit to eight just a couple minutes into the quarter. Every time Washington got close, Victor Oladipo would respond. With 4:59 left, Mahinmi scored off a cut courtesy of a Beal pass and that cut the deficit to just four. Oladipo would hit a 15 foot pull up jumper to give his team some breathing room, but a pair of Meeks free throws cut the Pacers lead back down to two. On the ensuing possession, Brad tried to get the ball to Meeks, but Victor picked the pass off and raced in for a dunk. Brad would redeem himself on the next possession when he drilled a step-back three pointer with 3:06 left in the game. Mike Scott hit a midrange jump shot a couple of possessions later to cut the deficit to three, but Oladipo again stepped up, this time knocking down his second triple of the game to extend the lead to six. Porter only got one attempt after going off in the third period, but it was a big one. Mike Scott grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked it out to Porter, Otto drilled the three and the crowd went crazy. Washington trailed 96-93 with 1:36 left in the game. Both teams committed turnovers on the following possessions, first Oladipo and then Scott.
Beal went to the line with 36.6 seconds left, his team down by three and knocked down both free throws. Indiana called a timeout and on their next possession, Washington got a stop as Oladipo missed a midrange jumper. Porter got the rebound and kicked it up court to Beal, Brad attacked the rim, but couldn’t finish over Oladipo. It wasn’t a bad shot, but Washington would of had 18 seconds or so to take their time and find a quality shot. Victor was fouled with 11.2 seconds left and Indiana leading by one, he went to the line and split the pair.