Wizards travel to Pacers for second game in as many days (Dec 19, 2016)
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers will host the Washington Wizards on Monday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Washington (12-14) will be playing their second game in as many days, as they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday 117-110. The Wizards have come on strong lately, winning their last three games and five of their last six after a slow start to the season. However, they are just 1-4 this season on the second night of a back-to-back. They've also struggled on the road (2-8) while the Pacers have thrived at home (10-4).
Bradley Beal scored 41 points against the Clippers.
"We showed our hand, so there's no excuses for us moving forward," Beal told the Washington Post. "We're embracing one another, and embracing the challenge. The last couple games we've been accepting that challenge defensively."
John Wall and Paul George were drafted first and 10th, respectively, in 2010. They've each had success in previous games against each other. Wall averaged 23.7 points and 8.3 assists against the Pacers last season. Paul George averaged 33 points in the three meetings with Washington last year, including a 38-point night in their last game.
Both of these teams are in the top-10 in the NBA in 3-point shooting percentage. They've also scored and turned the ball over at nearly identical rates on the season. The guards on each side will make for an interesting match-up.
The Pacers (14-14) have been the definition of a .500 club so far this season. After beating Detroit on Saturday night, Indiana pushed its record to .500 for the 12th time this season. It never won or lost more than two straight games, and it has been within two games of the .500 mark all season long.
"We've struggled with our consistent play," coach Nate McMillan told pacers.com. Some of it is change in mindset of players, and getting them to focus on the defensive end of the floor. A lot of our guys, and a lot of guys in the NBA are offensive minded. When they're struggling on offense, they take it to the defensive end. But you can always play defense."
Paul George agreed: "We're a team that's ready and prepared for the good teams and we come out flat against the weaker opponents," George said. "It's kind of who we've been. We're still trying to find an identity. The best thing about it is I think we're going towards the right direction."
George may be on to something, as the Pacers are 10-6 in their last 16 games against teams other than Golden State.
Both teams are battling some injuries. Washington will be without former Pacer Ian Mahinmi (sore right knee), Danuel House Jr. (right wrist fracture), Kelly Oubre Jr. (concussion), and possibly Jason Smith (questionable with a strained right hamstring). The Pacers will be without Monta Ellis (right groin strain) and Rodney Stuckey (left hamstring strain.)
This will be the first of four match-ups between these two teams this season.