That sound you hear is everyone jumping back off the Indiana Pacers bandwagon. Yes, back off.
After outlasting the Atlanta Hawks in round 1, the Pacers came into tonight’s Game 1 against the Washington Wizards with hope and an opportunity. Both of which were lost after the Wizards stole homecourt advantage and Game 1 in their 102-96 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Bradley Beal led the Wizards in scoring with 25 points (8-for-18 shooting); Trevor Ariza added 22 points including shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from three-point range. John Wall quietly kept the pace in favor of Washington with his 13 points and nine assists. Nene and Marcin Gortat dominated the paint with a combined 27 points, 21 rebounds and five blocks. Drew Gooden even managed to pile on with his 12 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.
In the loss, the Pacers were led by George Hill and Paul George who each finished with 18 points apiece. David West added 15 points and 12 rebounds, but milk carton Roy Hibbert reemerged.
Indiana’s All-Star center finished with the rare Golden Goose Egg — 0 points, 0 rebounds and five fouls. It’s pretty amazing if you really think about it. He was also a team-worst minus-17 on the night.
The Wizards not only proved that they can hang with the Pacers, they proved that they can beat them. I mean, for much of the game, the Wiz had double-digit leads. They proved that they belong in Game 1 by taking a 1-0 series lead.
They can prove even more with a Game 2 victory. For the Pacers, well, they’re still trying to prove to themselves who they really are.
The enigma that is the Pacers continues. At this rate, Indiana is probably going to blowout Washington in Game 2. That’s how it works, right?