After a series of tough games, the Indiana Pacers made things a little easier on themselves tonight against the Washington Wizards thanks to a big run to close the third quarter. The Pacers took the lead for good at the end of the first quarter, but Washington kept the game within striking distance in the first half, cutting a 12-point lead to just seven at the break.
In the third, the Wizards trailed by just four halfway through the third, but the Pacers closed the quarter on a 24-8 run to jump by 20. Myles Turner was a big part of that run, scoring the next five after the Wizards cut it to four, pulling in three rebounds, and blocking two shots. On the night, Turner had a career night on the boards, finishing with 17, seven coming on the offensive end. He also had a game high in points with 18.
The Pacers outrebounded Washington by 20, with 16 offensive rebounds leading to 11 second chance points. They also outscored the Wizards 25-12 in points off turnovers, though the turnover totals were much closer than need be thanks to a sloppy fourth quarter for the Pacers.
The eight fourth quarter turnovers didn’t hurt the Pacers all that much in large part to their solid play defensively. They held the Wizards to just 36.8% shooting and held John Wall and Bradley Beal to seven points each on a combined 3-18 shooting. To be fair to the Wizards, they were coming off a triple overtime victory last night and it appeared to finally catch up to them late in the third.
Indiana managed to make it look effortless despite sending the Wizards to the line 26 times and committing 17 turnovers, getting seven double figure scorers, with Cory Joseph falling just short with eight. Off the bench, Domantas Sabonis led the way with a double double of his own, scoring 15 points with 10 rebounds, shooting 6-7 from the floor.
Aaron Holiday got minutes due to the absence of Tyreke Evans, stepping up after some poor shooting nights to finish with 12 points on 4-9 shooting. The rookie also halted a fast break opportunity from Beal early in the second, chasing him down for a swipe at the basket.
All five starters finished in double figures, with Bojan Bogdanovic scoring 14. Bogdanovic was Indiana’s most reliable three point shooting, hitting three of his seven attempts, all coming in the first half. Only one of those threes was assisted on, but three of his makes were assisted by Victor Oladipo, who led the team with nine assists on the night.
Oladipo scored just 12, but was a big factor in the offense. His nine assists went to four different Pacers. He had three of those assists in a 40 second stretch late in the first to help push Indiana into the lead after had they had fallen in an early five point hole. Oladipo also had three steals and a game changing charge early in Indiana’s third quarter run that led to a Darren Collison three.
Collison’s three was part of a key five, potentially six point swing that pushed Indiana into a double figure lead for good. Collison finished with 12 points, hitting a pair of threes and shooting 5-11 from the floor. Thaddeus Young reached double figures with 10 points and nine rebounds. He and Turner combined for 12 of Indiana’s 16 offensive rebounds, one of them leading to a thunderous putback jam.
The Pacers are back to 10 games above .500 after putting together a pair of wins. They’ve got room for improvement especially with turnovers, but were fortunate to not have to pay for those miscues in the fourth. They will get to enjoy a pair of days off for Christmas before hitting the court again on Wednesday, facing the Atlanta Hawks on the road.