Culture of Hoops

Washington Wizards take down Indiana Pacers in series opener

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

The Washington Wizards went on the road and beat the Indiana Pacers 102-96 to take a 1-0 lead in their second round series.

Indiana experienced deja vu as they once again lose their home opener in a playoff match. The score says the Pacers only lost by six but Washington held control of this game from start to finish pretty much. The Wizards jumped out to a 28-15 lead in the first quarter and fought off every run Indiana tried to make. It was almost a replay of the losses the Pacers had against the Atlanta Hawks.

Washington had six players score in double figures against what is supposed to be a proud defensive team in the Pacers, which is scary. Indiana did not get beat by point guard John Wall even though he tallied 13 points and 9 assists. Instead it was Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza who took it to Indiana. Ariza came out balling like he was a Los Angeles Laker again as he put up 22 points of a 70% shooting night; he was also 6-6 from the three-point line. What’s interesting about that is none of those threes were contested. Ariza shot whenever he wanted to all night long.

The real star of the night though was former Florida Gator Bradley Beal. Wall’s backcourt mate racked up 23 points, seven assists and seven rebounds as he became the youngest player since Magic Johnson to put up such numbers at 20 years old on the road. Beal, like Ariza was afforded the opportunity to not only shoot when he wanted but get into the lane as well. Speaking of shooting, the Pacers really didn’t contest any shots as even Nene shot whenever he wanted to. Nene only scored 15 points but dominated Roy Hibbert all night long as fans once again were left to wonder what is wrong with this guy.

The Pacers will get another shot Wednesday at home again but they have a few things they need to work on. For starters they need to figure out how they are going to control the Wizards guards as Wall and Beal established quickly that they are a far cry from the Atlanta Hawks backcourt that Indiana struggled with at times. They also need to figure out how they are going to defend Nene because Hibbert may not be the answer. The Wizards are not intimidated by the Pacers and they are also not afraid of a close game either. They are young but they have experience in grinding games out seeing as they had to do it against the Chicago Bulls in the opening round and have much more talented than the roster depleted Hawks team Indiana struggled with in the first round.

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