Things could not have gone much better for the Indiana Pacers in their shooting efforts tonight. The blue and gold were raining three pointers all night long, setting a franchise record in the process, defeating the Washington Wizards 123-106. The outburst was paced by 19 Indiana three pointers, leading to their first back-to-back 120 point nights since January 2010.
Things started well for the Pacers, who hit their first eight shots, but despite the scoring outburst, Indiana also struggled to get out of their own way with turnovers. The Wizards were able to weather Indiana's scoring output early by capitalizing off of their turnovers and successful shooting of their own. The Pacers led 62-61 at halftime, an eyesore of a score for a series that's featured games where both teams had been held under 70.
The first team to show life on defense was Indiana, who despite continued turnover struggles, were finally able to force stops and capitalize on Washington's turnovers, leveling the Wizards' advantage in points off turnovers, all while continuing their blistering shooting pace from beyond the arc. For the Wizards, who kept the game within striking distance with their own three point shooting (13 on the night), the turnovers and hot shooting of the Pacers proved too much.
Indiana shot 55% on the night in addition to their three point shooting, but it was that shooting that defined the night as a whole. Indiana's franchise record came on 19-26 shooting, or 73.1%, marking the third time in league history a team has made 19 three pointers while posting a 70% shooting percentage. Suffice to say, it wasn't only one of the greatest shooting exhibitions in Pacers history, but one of the best in league history.
George Hill had a pair in his return to action as part of his 14 point, five assist night, looking a bit sluggish, but having some great individual defense on a John Wall that coughed the ball up eight times. Monta Ellis had 10 points, five assists, and five boards and Ian Mahinmi posted seven points and nine boards. Rodney Stuckey and Chase Budinger also hit a three of their own. The bench had just 20 points tonight, but it was a two-man tandem tonight between Paul George and C.J. Miles.
Of Indiana's 19 threes, 15 of them came between George and Miles. The two were a combined 15-17 from three point range, with Miles leading the charge between the two of them with eight made. Miles posted a season high 32 on 10-16 shooting. Miles had no trouble with his three, but made the most of his attempts from the right wing, going 5-5 from that spot, three coming from 28 feet and out.
After the game, George joked (emphasis on joking, Twitter!) that he and Miles were the East Coast Splash Brothers, and it fit the bill tonight with Miles playing the Klay Thompson to George's Stephen Curry. George was unquestionably MVP material tonight, posting one of his, if not his best game as a pro with 40 points on 14-19 shooting. George hit seven of eight from three, also pulling in eight rebounds and a pair of steals.
The Pacers improved to 9-5 on the season with the win, moving them into a temporary tie with the Chicago Bulls, who will either be a half game up or half game down depending on their late night outcome in Portland. It will be the Bulls that Indiana will face next at home, and it will be the next test for Indiana to bounce back from their one-point loss in Chicago to continue their early season success on Friday.