Posted on February 24, 2019, by Travis Pulver
When Victor Oladipo went down, the Pacers were expected to go down with him. But heading into Saturday night’s game against the Washington Wizards, they were 39-20 and sitting in the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Could they continue to find a way?
While they made the task harder on themselves by committing 23 turnovers during the game, but the answer ended up being yes.
“It’s not so much about playing without Vic, we’re just playing our games,” Pacers guard Darren Collison said after the game. “Vic goes down for the season a month ago, so I think we’ve been finding ourselves.”
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Collison ended up scoring 15 points with 11 coming in the fourth quarter alone. But it was Thadeus Young who led the way with 22 points followed by Bojan Bogdanovic with 18 as the Pacers recorded a 119-112 win over the Wizards.
The game was relatively close at the start with the two teams trading the lead back and forth. As the quarter went on, the Pacers got out to a ten-point lead but ended up taking an eight-point lead into the second quarter, 29-21.
Washington got within four early during the second but fell behind by 15 heading into the half, 65-50.
The turnovers helped fuel a Wizards comeback in the second half. But Washington was only able to close the gap to nine, 89-80, heading in to the fourth quarter. The Wizards got within three in the final quarter but couldn’t pull ahead.
“For sure,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said after the game. “Scoring is not the problem. It’s not our problem. It’s just defending and getting stops and controlling stuff we can control.”
Of course, it would have helped if Beal could have gotten some help from his teammates. The other four starters combined to score just 31 points while he scored 35. But he did get a fair amount of help from Thomas Bryant, who recorded a triple-double.
Indiana had seven players score in double-figures including Young’s 22 points. Domantas Sabonis added to his Sixth Man resume with a double-double (13 points and 12 rebounds).
With the loss, the Wizards drop to 24-36 on the season. It’s their fourth loss in a row and seventh in their last nine. While not eliminated from the playoffs yet, they are 4.5 games behind the Charlotte Hornets for the No. 8 seed.
The win improves the Pacers to 40-20. They are currently the No. 3 seed in the East, 5.5 games behind the Bucks and two games in front of the 76ers. Indiana will have Sunday off but will travel to Detroit Monday for a game with the Pistons.
“Forty is not the number that we want,” Pacers head coach Nate McMillan said after the game. “We can’t be satisfied with anything we’ve done.”
Washington will have a few nights off before they play again. Their next game will be against the Nets in Brooklyn Wednesday night.