NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, May 13th
(All times Eastern)
(5) Washington Wizards (1-3) at (1) Indiana Pacers (3-1), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers can eliminate the Washington Wizards
Tuesday night when Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series shifts
back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The Pacers are on the threshold of a conference finals appearance thanks to
sweeping both road games in Washington over the weekend. Indiana demolished
the Wiz in Game 3, then gutted out a tough, 95-92 win Sunday in Game 4.
The Wizards were seemingly on their way to evening this Eastern Conference
semifinal series when they led by 19 early in the third quarter, but Paul
George and the often-maligned Roy Hibbert combined for 43 points in the second
half to put Washington on the brink of elimination.
Twenty-eight of those points came from George, who made big basket after big
basket and even grabbed 12 rebounds for the Pacers.
"I was just in a rhythm and it carried out through the whole game," said
George, who connected on 12-of-20 from the field. "I was able to knock some
Hibbert finished with 17 points and nine rebounds and made a huge turnaround
hook shot with 62 seconds remaining to give the Pacers a 94-91 lead.
After a series of empty possessions, Bradley Beal and George Hill traded 1-
for-2 showings at the foul line, as Hill's miss with 6.8 seconds remaining
gave Washington one chance to force overtime.
The Wizards, however, never got a shot off.
Trevor Ariza threw away the ensuing inbounds pass, and Washington fell into a
"I'm not blaming any of this on any youth or inexperience or who has been in
the playoffs and who hasn't," Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said of the
letdown. "That's just an excuse."
George finished with 39 points. Ever since the zero-point, zero-rebound
debacle of Game 1, Hibbert, an All-Star this season, is averaging 19.6 points,
7.6 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.
"He's getting his mojo back. We're just going to continue to keep him
confident because when he performs and plays well, we're a better team," said
Indiana forward David West.
Hill netted 15 in the win and West tallied 14.
The Pacers were given off from practice on Monday since all five starters
played over 37 minutes. George saw 46:23 of game action and didn't sit in the
Beal led a balanced Wizards attack in Game 4 with 20 points. Ariza managed 16,
followed by 12 out of John Wall, 11 from veteran Al Harrington and 10 apiece
out of Nene and Drew Gooden.
Washington faces an elimination game for the first time this postseason. They
ripped through the Chicago Bulls in the first round, but now have to win on
the road to extend their season.
"We've got to go back to Indy, we've got to get one game. Then we'll worry
about Game 6 after Game 5," said Wittman. "Three of the four games have been a
dogfight and we're in the fight, now we've just got to win that fight."
And the Pacers aren't thinking about clinching a berth in the conference
finals for the second consecutive season. They are trying to remain focused on
"We got to win Game 5. That's our only mindset," said head coach Frank Vogel.
If necessary, Game 6 would be Thursday night in Washington.
05/13 10:23:39 ET