Wizards finally get better of Pacers in 91-78 win
WASHINGTON (AP) John Wall scored 20 points, and the Washington Wizards avenged two of their biggest losses of the season Friday night, never trailing in a 91-78 win over the cold-shooting, turnover-prone Indiana Pacers.
Marcin Gortat added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Al Harrington added 12 points, including a personal 10-0 run in the second quarter, for the Wizards, who dropped their first two games against the Pacers this season by a combined 47 points. Of Washington’s three losses by 20-plus points this season, two have been against Indiana.
But Indiana was due for a letdown, two nights after a big win over the Miami Heat in a matchup of the top two teams in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers committed five turnovers in the first four minutes Friday and shot 35 percent overall.
Paul George scored 19 points, and Lance Stephenson had 13 points and matched a career-high with 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who have lost a season-high four straight road games.
The Wizards, closing in on their first playoff berth since 2008, recovered from an uninspired stretch in which they had lost four of five. They remain sixth in the East.
As poorly as the Wizards played, they didn’t truly pull away until late in the third quarter. Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster hit 3-pointers in a 10-0 run that made the score 77-56 early in the fourth. Ariza finished just 2 for 12 from the field, and Bradley Beal was 2 for 13.
But Stephenson went 3 for 13 for Indiana and missed all five of his 3-pointers. Roy Hibbert was 3 for 8, and George was 6 for 22. Pacers finished 2 for 13 from 3-point range and committed 10 of their 17 turnovers in the first half.
Turnover No. 11, by the way, came on the first possession of the second half, when Hibbert threw the ball out of bounds.
A pair of offensive fouls on David West accounted for two Indiana turnovers in the early minutes of the game. There was also a bad inbounds pass by George, giving Wall plenty of room for a reverse slam.
The Wizards turned again to their old guard of Harrington, Drew Gooden and Andre Miller in the second quarter, and Harrington needed only 2 1/2 minutes to score 10 points, including a three-point play and a 3-point shot. Beal’s 3-pointer gave Washington a 16-point lead, but the Pacers responded with 12 straight points in a run led by George and West.
The Wizards led 44-37 at halftime and held the Pacers to seven field goals in the third quarter. Indiana tried to make a late comeback, cutting the deficit to 10 with 4 1/2 minutes to play in the game, but a layup by Wall and a dunk by Gortat reversed the momentum one last time.
NOTES: Beal played 35 minutes despite suffering a hip pointer in Wednesday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns. … Another sign of Harrington’s impact: The Wizards outscored the Pacers by 20 when he was in the game. … After scoring in the 70s only once in their first 69 games, the Pacers have scored in the 70s in three of their last four games.
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