Despite leading 6-0 out of the gate, the Indiana Pacers fell into another first quarter lull, shooting just 25% for a grand total of 14 first quarter points, with the only saving grace exiting the quarter is that they never trailed by 10 and only allowed 20 points. The former of those two positives went away in the opening minute of the second quarter as five straight points by Washington put Indiana down 25-14.
Indiana would respond with another 6-0 burst, but by the 5:34 mark of the second quarter, found themselves down big again, trailing 37-24 after allowing a four point possession where Kevin Seraphin created a three point play off of a missed free throw. Lavoy Allen, who earned time tonight due to foul trouble and limited play elsewhere, scored Indiana's next four points to help lift them on a 10-2 run that put them back in the game.
The Pacers would trim the lead to two heading into the break and break through into the lead with seven straight to open the third. Indiana led 52-48, but stumbled, allowing Washington to stay well within the game with four turnovers on their next five possessions. C.J. Miles would score six straight for Indiana to once again put them up by four, but the Wizards would again push Indiana, scoring 10 of the next 13 points.
Damjan Rudez hit a trio of threes late in the third and to open the fourth to help keep Indiana from completely falling off the map, but John Wall had a big open to the fourth as part of his season high 34, scoring 12 of Washington's first 14 to help push them ahead 90-80 with 6:37 remaining in the game. Missed free throws and a failure to get stops haunted the Pacers as the fourth progressed, but Allen once again helped Indiana to gain some life, scoring a pair of buckets to draw Indiana to within six, as missed free throws cropped up for the Wizards.
George Hill took control of the game, scoring 10 points in an 11-1 Pacers run that would put them up 97-94 with under two minutes remaining. Washington would keep the game to a single possession, with Wall hitting his second three of the game with 11 seconds remaining to tie the game at 101-101. On the final Pacers possession, Hill drove the paint, scooping in the game winning layup with 2.7 seconds remaining, guiding Indiana to the 103-101 win.
Indiana haven't particularly shown a lot of resolve in recent games; between a failure to get stops or make plays late, but dug deep to come up with tonight's win over Washington, snapping a six game losing streak and allowing them to make up ground in the playoff race for the first time in nearly two weeks. The Pacers have been awful in the fourth quarter of late, but did a solid job limiting Washington outside of Wall's star play, allowing them to win the fourth 33-25.
George Hill led Indiana with 29 points, nine assists, and seven boards, scoring 12 in the final 4:18 of the fourth quarter to grab the win. Big play off the bench from Damjan Rudez and Lavoy Allen helped give Indiana life throughout the game when they were well on course to fade out as they have recently. Allen spelled a foul troubled Luis Scola and ineffective David West in the first half, getting extended run in the second half in place of Roy Hibbert, who was 0-6 from the floor in his 17 minutes of action.
Allen had eight points and six rebounds on the night, giving Indiana a nice push in the front court with Scola's struggles extending beyond foul trouble as the game progressed. Rudez was 3-7 from three point range, but hit all three of his threes late in the third and early in the fourth, keeping what could've blown into a double figure deficit at just a single possession in the fourth.
West had his share of struggles early, but looked to shake out some of the cobwebs in the second half, scoring eight of his 10 after the break, grabbing 11 rebounds in the process. Despite Hibbert's 0-fer night, the other starters reached double figures for Indiana, including 16 from C.J. Miles and 13 from Solomon Hill. C.J. Watson also had another solid night off the bench, scoring 11, leading the team with three steals.
The Pacers not only one, but gained ground on the 8th seed Boston Celtics, pulling aside them for that 8th spot, still sitting in 9th due to tiebreakers. Miami grabbed the win, keeping a two game cushion in 7th, with Brooklyn topping Charlotte to put both teams 1/2 game behind Indiana as the bottom of the East playoff race continues its exciting quest of ineptitude. Indiana will have a chance to build on their success from tonight when they travel to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on the second night of a back-to-back.