NBA Wizards 

Late rally falls short as Pacers hold on to beat Wizards

Washington found themselves in a hole late against the Pacers, twice they responded with runs to get back into it. The first was a 13-2 run that cut the deficit to just two points. Indiana as they had done all night, responded accordingly. The Wizards found it in themselves to come up with a frantic 10-2 run in the last 1:30. Thomas Bryant hit a three pointer on the right wing to cut the deficit to three. Washington got a stop on the ensuing defensive possession, but rushed themselves on the possession that followed. Bryant got the ball a bit to the right of the top of the three point line and fired a shot. Washington seemed a bit too sped up and that possession definitely haunted them as they fell to the Pacers 119-112.

Thaddeus Young led the Pacers with 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting, Bojan Bogdanovic scored 18 points. Wesley Matthews hit a huge three pointer late in the fourth to give Indiana a seven point lead, he finished with 14 points and Darren Collinson had 15 points.

Bradley Beal scored 25 of his 35 points in the second half as Washington tried to rally. Thomas Bryant had a huge night off the bench with 23 points and 12 rebounds, not to mention three timely blocks. His energy really became infectious for Washington in the second half.The Wizards tend to switch heavily on the defensive end, it cost them against the Pacers. Indiana took their time, running screen/rolls until they got a matchup they desired. More often than not it resulted in Thad Young or Domantas Sabonis with a guard on them in the post. Indiana shot just under 60% in the first quarter, they also forced six turnovers. They made Washington pay every time in transition.

The Pacers defense continued to force turnovers, Washington had seven in the second quarter. The Wizards were able to score the ball better, but they weren’t able to get stops. There were a few moments where they cut the deficit to as little as five and six points, but a turnover was soon to follow. Thomas Bryant had a solid half coming off the bench with 11 points, but Washington gave up 11 second chance points in the half.

Washington started the second half off with a little burst as Beal and Satoransky scored a quick 10 points. They were down by 10 with 8:04 left in the quarter, over the next four minutes the Pacers created more separation. They led 82-65 with 4:06 left in the period. Their defense continued to bother the Wizards, making everything difficult and their offense continued to run smooth. Washington made a quick 8-0 run to cut the lead to nine with 2:58 left in the third, capped by a Randle three. Bryant had a huge rebound and block during that spurt.

Beal found his rhythm and seemed to genuinely be more assertive in the third en route to a 10 point quarter. Randle scored six points in the period, knocking down two big three pointers for Washington. Bryant’s activity seemed to be infectious during the close of the third quarter, but the Pacers did enough to take a nine point lead into the fourth. 

The Wizards have a few days off before heading to Brooklyn to face the Nets. Washington has to address their porous defense if they still wish to make a playoff push, scoring is not an issue.

If they are going to continue switching on defense, communication has to be better and multiple efforts have to be given on that end of the floor from opening tip. Waiting until the game gets out of hand to make frantic runs isn’t healthy and the comeback attempts will continue to fall short if they can’t generate stops. 

Turnovers were also a huge issue against the Pacers, they had 22 in the game and 13 at the half. Indiana scored 30 points off those Washington turnovers, can’t beat yourself and the Wizards certainly didn’t help their cause with that number.

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CEO/Founder of My Mind on Sports For More Information on Wilson, check out his Bio in the "Team" Section Follow Wilson on Twitter: @Willietspeaks

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