After a putrid first quarter, a come-from-behind victory over the Washington Wizards would have been just what the doctor ordered for the injury riddled Pacers. Committing more turnovers (10) than field goals (6) in the first frame, Indiana looked the part of a team missing their top six players and playing their fourth game in five nights. Shooting just 37.% from the field in the first half and allowing the Wizards to score 32 points in the paint, Indiana would go into halftime down 19, 54-35.
Adding insult to injury, the Pacers announced following halftime that Roy Hibbert would not return to the game with a bruised left knee. Suffering yet another setback, the Pacers, behind second-year player Solomon Hill, would not go down without a fight. Once trailing by as many as 22 points, Hill's eleven third quarter points helped the Blue-and-Gold pull within single-digits by the end of the period.
Ultimately a heartfelt end-of-game push aided by a career night from Hill (28 points on 10-of-19, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals), some timely three-point makes from Damjan Rudez (9 points, 3-of-4 from three) and a second-half spark from Donald Sloan (scoring all of his 13 points after the break), simply was not enough to overcome the team's sizable first quarter deficit. Instead, the Pacers would have to settle for yet another "good job, good effort." Once pulling within three points, the Pacers would go on to lose to the Wizards 97-90, moving to 1-6 on the season.
Prior to tonight's loss, the Pacers had out-rebounded all of their first six opponents. The Wizards finished the night plus 11 on the boards, 49-38. John Wall was the Wizard's high point scorer with 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting. In the absence of both David West and Roy Hibbert, Nene proved to be too much for the Pacers' thin front court to contend with, scoring 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Undermanned inside, rookie Shayne Whittington saw his first minutes of the season, scoring his first two points as a professional while recording three rebounds and two assists. Solomon Hill led the way for the Pacers with 28 points. Notably, Hill scored 47 total points during his entire rookie season.
After the game, head coach Frank Vogel reported that Roy Hibbert is day-to-day with a bruised left knee. Until further update is provided, the possibility looms that the Pacers may have to move forward without any of their top seven players and without a single starter from the 2013-14 season.