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Pacers already running out of time against Wizards

May 5, 2014, 10:38 PM EDT

Bradley Beal Bradley Beal

Frank Vogel called one timeout and then another.

His Indiana Pacers were getting battered by the upstart Washington Wizards, and not even eight minutes in, he was running out of possible solutions.

At that point, the Pacers had twice as many of their shots blocked (six) as had gone through the hoop (three). And that’s when Indiana could even get off a shot. The symmetrically out-of-sync Pacers had five turnovers, each starter with one.

Can an underdog end a series in Game 1? The Wizards, crushing the East’s No. 1 seed, seemed on the verge.

Well, this won’t be that quick a quick knockout. The Pacers eventually got off the mat and even landed a few punch-drunk right hooks late, but that’s about all they did.

The Wizards took Game 1  102-96 Monday, and if they didn’t take the series in one night, they at least positioned themselves as unquestioned favorites.

So this series won’t be easy for Washington? The Wizards hadn’t won a second-round game since 1982. This isn’t supposed to be easy.

Even if it looked that way early.

Washington jumped to an 8-0 lead, fell asleep a bit and then expanded its lead to 16 points. The Pacers led for 15 seconds the entire game, a possession in the second quarter. Otherwise, until the closing minutes, the Wizards cruised with a steady onslaught of quality play:

  • Bradley Beal (25 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals) was the game’s best two-way player.
  • Trevor Ariza made all six of his 3-point attempts to score 22 points
  • Drew Gooden (12 points and 13 rebounds in 18 minutes) was everywhere, especially wherever the ball was headed off the offensive glass.
  • John Wall (13 points, nine assists, one turnover and two blocks) controlled Washington’s offense and played excellent transition defense.
  • Marcin Gortat (12 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks) fortified the middle.
  • Nene (15 points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks) made solid contributions on both ends.

That’s way too much for Indiana – at least this Indiana – to overcome. The Pacers barely beat the 38-44 Hawks. How are they going to get competitive with Washington?

Due to Roy Hibbert (zero points, zero rebounds, five fouls and two turnovers in 18 minutes) more than anyone, the Pacers’ starting lineup – a mainstay among the NBA’s best over the last two years – has lost its effectiveness. That unit was outscored by eight points in 12 minutes Monday.

Vogel is left mixing and matching whatever starters haven’t self-destructed with C.J. Watson, Luis Scola and Chris Copeland to form cohesive lineups. That scattered approach can work – Indiana went on a late 7-1 run before George Hill made 3-pointers on three of the Pacers’ final four possessions – but it’s tough to win a game, let alone a series, that way.

Especially against the feisty Wizards.

Washington’s ability to win anywhere puts even more pressure on the Pacers. The Wizards opened round one in Chicago and didn’t settle for a single win, coming home with a 2-0 series lead. There’s no reason to believe they can’t do the same in Game 2 Wednesday.

Already possessing four road wins in these playoffs, Washington has shown a resiliency becoming of a conference finalist. In the last eight years, all 21 teams with four road wins in a postseason reached the conference finals.

Lady Gaga? The Wizards might not need to worry.

They didn’t end this series in one. But four? That’s still on the table.

  1. obmig - May 6, 2014 at 8:34 AM

    The lack of egos seems to be the driving force behind this great play. They aren’t forcing any bad shots, and because of it everyone is getting open looks on offense. On defense it’s just all out effort. Everyone will get their due respect if they continue to play like this.

  2. miamatt - May 6, 2014 at 8:36 AM

    I think my favorite part of the telecast was, with about 1:20 to go, when Chris Webber said, “Hit a couple of three pointers, get an and-1 and [the Pacers] are right back in it.”

    This series is far from over but I do think the Wizards will win it.

  3. jkirby317 - May 6, 2014 at 8:41 AM

    Chris Webber is a horrible announcer.

  4. unxpexted1 - May 6, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    I really like how the Wizards are playing ball. My only concern is their balance attack. It’s the reason why they are hard to beat, but its also the reason why they go through these ungodly stretches without scoring. I think there was a point in the second they went 7 minutes without scoring. Sometimes they need to give it to somebody and say “here, take the rock, stop the bleeding”. But overall, they just have too much for Indy.

  5. noochieleon - May 6, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    The Pacers were “dead” against Atlanta remember. It ain’t over until one team wins 4 games.

    • stayhigh_247 - May 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      yeah but do you really believe the Pacers can win 4 against this team in only 7 tries?

  6. heat256 - May 6, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    Indy PD has just issued an APB for a 7’2″ Center who disappeared a few weeks ago. Answers to “Hibbert” or “Bynum 2.0″. Might throw something at you, but will most likely miss then sulk.

  7. charlutes - May 6, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    Yes, because one win counts for more than one win. Media b.s. The pacers will likely rebound and win the series just like round 1. Are they playing awful, does Hubert suck? Yes. But it’s the east and they will likely still advance, sorry drama cookers.

    • unxpexted1 - May 6, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      This isn’t atlanta. The east may be week, but the Wizards were the 3rd best team in the east when healthy, with the best road record in the east period. This is no scrub team.

  8. newyorkball82 - May 6, 2014 at 9:17 AM

    @finsfan71

    So because I’m from NY I’m a “guido”? That makes sense… NY is a small state after all and is made up of only one type of person.

    • unxpexted1 - May 6, 2014 at 9:19 AM

      I could of sworn guido was a NJ thing?

      • nolanwiffle - May 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        I “could of” sworn the contraction for “could have” was “could’ve.

      • nolanwiffle - May 6, 2014 at 10:16 AM

        I “could of” sworn the contraction for “could have” was “could’ve.

      • unxpexted1 - May 6, 2014 at 11:51 AM

        nice just english teacher. Oh look I didn’t capitalize the E, lets point that out too.

        Oh look, you put the quotes in the beginning of could’ve but not the end quotes. I mean really is this what this site has come to? Geesh.

      • unxpexted1 - May 6, 2014 at 11:55 AM

        *job, see, I made a mistake and corrected it just for you, teach.

  9. nard100 - May 6, 2014 at 9:38 AM

    If anybody thinks the Pacers are just going “figure things out” they’re delusional. What you saw last night was pretty much total domination. When I saw West get shut down in the paint, I knew it was going to a long night for the Pacers. With Gortak and Nene in the paint, it’s over folks. Wizards in 6.

  10. finsfan71 - May 6, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    I’d like to apologize to all the northeast guido’s for directly linking them and the pond scum Knicks fans that comment on these message boards.

    ….let me take this opportunity to apologize to all the pond scum for directly linking them to Knicks fans…

  11. newyorkball82 - May 6, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    @finsfan71

    So the Knicks fans are the pond scum, but you want to apologize to them for linking them to themselves (“pond scum knicks fans”).

  12. obmig - May 6, 2014 at 11:20 AM

    I can think of a GM that might have to answer some uncomfortable questions after this series. Those trades for Turner and Bynum didn’t help them on the court and it seems that their locker room has collapsed since then.

  13. xli2006 - May 7, 2014 at 12:23 AM

    If Trevor Ariza shoots a human 3P % (6 for 6)

    OR

    Roy Hibbert does ANYTHING

    Then that game is flipped. Pacers lost by 6 so lets not freak out. The Pacers were on 48 hrs “rest” and the Wizards on 5 days.

    Lets see what happens in Game 2. Ariza and Gooden won’t draw those cards again that’s for sure.

    • ranfan12 - May 7, 2014 at 6:25 AM

      those are what people call concession baskets. they were down 20 or more during most of the quarter. i know it was more than 15 at least. not hard to make a small comeback in garbage time against a bench when other team knows they won

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