The Indiana Pacers came into tonight’s game with a chance to close out their series with the Washington Wizards. Unfortunately, Indiana didn’t come out with any effort or energy, and the Wizards were able to roll to a 102-79 victory. Things started off bad for the Pacers, but got even worse as the Wizards continued to dominate the game in every single aspect.
Washington came out with an energy that hasn’t been seen from them all series, and showed up in ways that haven’t been seen in the first four games of the series. They were able to embarrass the Pacers rebounding the basketball, racking up a 62-23 rebounding advantage throughout the course of the game. That type of discrepancy usually isn’t seen, and the Pacers should be absolutely demoralized with that type of performance.
David West led the way for the Indiana Pacers this evening with 17 points on 7-14 shooting, but didn’t show the same type of leadership that he has shown in the three wins of the series. Paul George failed to have a second good game in a row, and scored just 15 points on 5-15 from the floor. The Pacers simply aren’t able to score the basketball consistently, and that goes back to Frank Vogel’s broken offense and the lack of discipline that the entire lineup has displayed.
Marcin Gortat led the way for the spirited Wizards, scoring 31 points to go along with 16 rebounds. He dominated Indiana’s front-court all night long, and quite frankly made himself look like a superstar. John Wall also finally found his shot, and scored 27 points on 11-20 shooting including 3-6 from behind the arc. The Pacers certainly should be concerned about Wall’s improved play, and they need to find a way to stop him in Game 6. Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza were the other two double digit scorers for the Wizards tonight with 18 and 10 respectively.
Indiana has to find a way to close this series out on the road in Game 6 to avoid a winner-take-all Game 7. They are facing a motivated and energetic Wizards team with renewed confidence, and a team that truly believes that they can come back to win the series. Vogel and the Pacers need to figure out what is wrong with their offense, and fix it before Thursday night rolls around.