After a dramatic double overtime victory against the Celtics on Wednesday, the Wizards came into Saturday night’s game off two days rest and it showed. From beginning to end, the Wizards were energetic as they were controlling the pace on both ends, Victor Oladipo who had his way last matchup with a game high of 33, was only held to 18 in comparison and the Wizards were moving the ball well finishing with 29 assists on the night. The Wizards got a much needed win as the season heads to the closing stretch, topping the Pacers 109-102. Beal lead the way with 19 points and Gortat had 18 to lead Washington, Indiana was led by Lance Stephenson with 25 points off the bench.
“It was very important for us. We knew what was at stake with this game. We want to make sure that we took care of it and we did that. We did a good job of getting out to a good start on both ends of the floor. We played a good 48.” – Bradley Beal
From the opening tip, the Pacers started hot with Al Jefferson leading the way as Myles Turner was a late scratch due to injury and then Tomas Satoransky led a solo run scoring a quick five on his own and finishing the first quarter 4-4 with 10 of the teams 25 points. Between Tomas and Marcin Gortat who finished the game with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists, the Wizards followed that momentum for a majority of the game.
In the second, both teams began to play sloppy and the Wizards began to not be as aggressive on defense as the Pacers were starting to get comfortable on offense. They even pulled within one with 3:53 in the half due in large part to Lance Stephenson who had a game high of 25 points. However, the Wizards had a counter response with a 16-4 run to end the half.
In the third, the Wizards controlled the tempo for a full 12 minutes. Lance was the only negative for the Wizards defense as they had no answer for him but other than that, everything was going there way. From the great ball movement, fast break finishes, aggressive defense, you would think the Wizards were in position for a blowout with a lead of 86-71 to end the third.
The fourth quarter started with the Pacers hitting two threes cutting the lead to 9. As the fourth quarter continued, the Wizards were in control with the bench dominating most of the minutes. Kelly Oubre Jr., Mike Scott and Jodie Meeks were doing majority of the scoring but that lead was dwindling due to a lack of urgency. As the game was winding down, the lead went from 20 to 11 and then 9 with 45 seconds left in the game. Carelessness were getting to the Wizards defensively however, they held on and won the game.
“As coach said before, knowing we have 13 games left, we have to continue to win games. We have tough teams coming into our house. It’s obviously going to be very hard for us to win those games, but we have to continue to fight. If we’re going to play like we played today, we should be fine.” – Marcin Gorat
This win not only secures the season series, it also gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding. The Wizards are 40-30 and with 12 games to go, they are currently in the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference. If they can continue with quality wins like this, they will be fine during the playoffs.