Wizards – Pacers Round 2 Preview

By Jake Russell

Wiz-Pacers

Following their 4-1 series victory over the Chicago Bulls, the Washington Wizards waited four days to find out who their round two opponent would be. Was it going to be the top-seeded Indiana Pacers or the lowest-seeded Atlanta Hawks?

With Indiana’s 92-80 win Saturday, the Wizards lost out on home-court advantage should Round 2 exceed four games.

Despite clinching the best record in the Eastern Conference, the Pacers had played like anything but the top team down the stretch. Indiana went 10-13 in the final 23 games of the regular season and struggled mightily against the Hawks, who ended the regular season six games under .500.

The Hawks gave the Pacers all they had, going up 3-2 in the series despite falling in seven games. The Pacers punched their ticket to the second round Saturday night with a 12-point victory led by Paul George’s 30 points, a franchise record for a Game 7.

In their four playoff wins, the Wizards found a new star to rise up in each contest. Nene dominated the paint in Game 1 and led all scorers with 24 points. Bradley Beal continued to make a name for himself with a 26-point performance in Washington’s nail-biting 101-99 overtime win in Game 2. Game 4 was highlighted by Washington’s quick 14-0 lead and Trevor Ariza’s career playoff-high 30 points that included six three-pointers. The Wizards clinched the series with an all-around strong defensive effort in Game 5 when the team held Chicago to 69 points.

Pacers big man Roy Hibbert, who averaged 10.8 points per game, 6.6 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game, struggled badly in the Hawks series. In Games 5 and 6, he scored no points and only played 12 minutes in each game. Prior to his 13-point performance in Game 7, Hibbert totaled just 24 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks in Games 1 through 4.

However, the ability to overcome the adversity of almost losing to an eighth seed and the reported infighting going in behind the scenes may be the fuel Indiana needs to get through the postseason.

To combat the possibility of Indiana getting on a roll, the Wizards will need to continue their formula of starting out strong and not losing steam. Washington’s dominance and tremendous amounts of energy worked like a charm against Chicago.

Here is a statistical breakdown of how the Wizards and Pacers performed (per game) in Round 1:

Points:
Wizards: 94.6
Packers: 93.6

Points Allowed:
Wizards: 90.0
Pacers: 92.4

Field Goal Percentage:
Wizards: 44.0
Pacers: 45.0

Three Point Percentage:
Wizards: 38.3
Pacers: 36.2

Free Throw Percentage:
Wizards: 70.3
Pacers: 74.2

Rebounds:
Wizards: 43
Pacers: 45

Assists:
Wizards: 20.4
Pacers: 20.4

Steals:
Wizards: 8.2
Pacers: 8.0

Blocks:
Wizards: 6.6
Pacers: 6.3

Here’s the Wizards-Pacers schedule for Round 2:

Monday, May 5, 7 p.m.
Wizards @ Pacers

Wednesday, May 7, 7 p.m.
Wizards @ Pacers

Friday, May 9, 8 p.m.
Wizards vs. Pacers

Sunday, May 11, 8 p.m.
Wizards vs. Pacers

Tuesday, May 13, TBA
Wizards @ Pacers

Thursday, May 15, TBA
Wizards vs. Pacers

Sunday, May 18, TBA
Wizards @ Pacers

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