The ‘make or miss league’ theory was on display in D.C. on Saturday night when a sizzling first half shooting performance by the Washington Wizards put them out front to stay in their 127-113 win over the Indiana Pacers.
This wasn’t a classic slow start for the Pacers despite falling behind 80-57 at the half (yes, that is an 8). The Pacers were actually ahead 29-28 with 2:45 left in the first quarter and THEN things went sideways in a hurry for the Pacers.
The Wiz closed the first with a 9-0 run and then scored 43 second quarter points to go to the break up 23 points which was more than enough to win the game. The Pacers showed their trademark plucky play with a 10-0 run to start the third quarter and while they ‘won’ the second half they never really threatened to win the game.
Rick Carlisle gave many fans what they have been craving with solid minutes for young players and a variety of player lineups, but nothing the coach nor players could do would be enough against a Wizards team that made 30 of 41 shots in the first half including nine three-pointers.
Bradley Beal had an impressive and efficient night, scoring 32 points on just 18 shots while making 4 of 5 shots from behind the arc. Beal had plenty of support with six other players scoring in double figures.
Tyrese Haliburton made 5 of 8 threes to lead the Pacers with 21 points as the Pacers All-Star continues to grind through this rough stretch while trying to maintain his signature positive approach on the floor. Speaking of All-Star, that break coming at the end of the week will be welcomed by the Blue and Gold, no doubt.
The win by the Wiz leveled the season series at 2-2 in the final game between the two teams barring a major turnaround by the Pacers which leads to a play-in matchup. That would indeed be a major shift for the Pacers considering they have now lost four straight games and 15 of their last 17 games. This was also the 11th consecutive loss on the road.
The Pacers are back at the Fieldhouse on Monday to take on the Utah Jazz, a game the home team should be favored in considering the trade deadline activity by the Jazz. Also, George Hill and Jordan Nwora are expected to be available for the Pacers.