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Wizards 117, Pacers 110: Over And Out

The Indiana Pacers couldn't rebound from their crushing defeat on Saturday and dropped another game on the road to the Washington Wizards, 117-110.

When I say the Pacers couldn't rebound, I mean they literally couldn't rebound. No only did the Wizards outwork the Pacers for a 58-31 rebound advantage, they...(screeechh!!!) Look at that, again! 58-31 REBOUND deficit for the Pacers. Among the 58, the 20 were off the offensive glass for the Wiz!

If that wasn't bad enough, Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler did not play for the Wizards. Lacking the two great scorers didn't bother the Wiz because their young replacements just needed to get the ball near the hoop and then let their teammates finish off the points.

For three quarters, the Pacers defense was as brutal as their rebounding. Wizards players were tripping over each other to get on the court with the ball in their hands. The Pacers bench chipped in 22 points which isn't great but a nice complement when Dunleavy and Granger have it going. In contrast, the Wizards bench went completely goofy on the Pacers and tossed in 70 points. Roger Mason appeared to make 22 3-balls, although his 31 points reveal it was probably a few less.

70 bench points? Can someone check the record books? That has to be some kind of record. The Wizards may not have all the right parts for a championship, but they have some nice parts for putting points on the board.

The fact that the Pacers were within 3 points with 17 seconds left in the game was phenomenal. The Wizards young players eased off a bit and the 48-minute Pacers kept grinding away. Eddie Jordan should thank the Pacers for giving him some teaching moments on tape for his young players.

In the end, this game, much like Saturday's, followed the pattern of the season. Playing to the level of competition early, falling into trouble in the middle of the game, then admirably rallying a too late to finish with a win.

The offense wasn't a problem tonight with Danny Granger scoring over 30 (35) for his third straight game and draining seven 3-balls. Mike Dunleavy also pitched in 26. Nope, the team's glaring weaknesses on defense and rebounding were the difference. The foundation for any successful team needs to consistently rely on defense and rebounding, and the fluctuations in these areas over the course of this season is a great place to start when assessing why there are only 35 Ws listed next to the Pacers name. Of course, there are a few other issues, so now we can officially start considering all of those issues and how to begin resolving them.