The Indiana Pacers cranked things up in the second half to roll past the Washington Wizards on Friday night, delivering some fantastic highlights along the way while bringing Washington's impressive transition game to a screeching halt.
John Wall had his way with the Pacers when the two teams played last year. Frank Vogel reminded his proud defenders of the 37 points Wall put on 'em in their last meeting and that motivation seemed to work. With Bradley Beal and Nene Hilario out of action, keeping Wall in check left the Wiz with nowhere to turn for help. George Hill led the strong defensive effort to hold down Wall and also slow down the Wiz in transition.
So now the Pacers head out of town for five games on the road to begin their toughest 10-game stretch of the season that includes two games with Miami on the back half. Following the game, Vogel and the players all seemed excited about the challenge ahead of them this week. They know their schedule has been favorable and continue to be more interested in how they play from game-to-game, as opposed to the end result. All they talked about was the next game with no thoughts about how to define a good 5-game trip.
3-2? 4-1? All they are concerned with is going 1-0 against the Clippers.
Back to the Wiz beatdown, there were so many great highlights, ranging from the fabulous fundamental ball movement between Lance Stephensin, David West and Roy Hibbert, to the flying behind-the-back, one-timer pass from Stephenson to C.J. Watson. Stephenson will never be accused of having a quiet triple-double and the numbers he put up last night were loud and vibrant and thoroughly enjoyed by the sellout crowd at BLF.
Vogel took Stephenson out after giving him a few plays to try to get his ten points, but then pulled the plug to the crowd's dismay.
"He was showboating there a little bit with a 23-point lead," Vogel said. "That's where guys take shots at you. Okay? You play in 36 hours, you get him out. Plus, I was trying to prevent him from getting it the wrong way, with 10 turnovers."
Check out the bulk of the big plays here via ESPN, including a nice double-Daffy from Lance after his first dime to Paul George.
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