USA TODAY Sports
Paul George unleashed the kraken to the tune of 29 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Bradley Beal answered the call like a bawse in the fourth quarter, scoring eight points in three possessions but couldn't pull it off in the end.
If you blinked, the Wizards were down 8-0. Bradley Beal airballed a shot from about five feet and then you probably thought, 'That' kind of game. It didn't get any better as Paul George rained down destruction from a distance while Roy Hibbert had his way on the inside. The Wizards ultimately fell, 89-81, after a second-quarter rally and a late fourth-quarter flurry that fell short.
Some quarter-by-quarter notes:
- There was some encouraging play from Bradley Beal, airball notwithstanding. I love seeing that kid get aggressive and attack the bucket.
- The Pacers applied some early defensive pressure and had it pay off, especially in transition.
- Note: Tyler Hansbrough continues to be my most hated Indiana forward following the departure of Josh McRoberts.
- Where do they find these guys? 31-18 at the end of one.
- Jordan Crawford starts the second with the kind of clockwork bucket off an open look we're dying for from BB3.
- Chris Singleton made a beautiful hustle play which turned into a JCraw three-point play, the squads traded turnovers (including my favorite Hansbrough play ever) and a quick Kevin Seraphin score later, the lead shrank to six. Timeout Pacers.
- One thing about the Wizards offensive system of baseline screens is it keeps the paint relatively clean. Without any shooters to realistically space the floor, it's easy enough to imagine why Wittman sticks with it. But when the interior D is disciplined, getting to the FT line is tough.
- Keveen gets left at the free throw line a few times, but Paul George is left alone at the three-point line on the other end and completed a transition play after picking off a terrible pass from Nene.
- Paul George is killing us.
- Teams trading so many missed shots I feel like I'm watching millionaires play Battleship.
- Cartier Martin is getting way too much burn.
- JCraw being himself, good and bad. Wizards end-of-quarter offensive troubles continue, scoreless over final three minutes. 47-39 Pacers.
- Jesus, why didn't Beal step back behind the three-point line for that wide, wide open shot?
- Emeka Okafor is getting involved...he pulled down the rebound, seemed to initiate the offense and finished courtesy of our favorite Brazilian.
- Beal ruined an excellent defensive position by offering Lance Stephenson a lane big enough to drive a pickup truck through.
- A few ticks later and Garrett Temple playground tricks his way up the court and found a streaking BB3 for a contested finish to cut the lead to two, prompting yet another timeout.
- The bleeding continues for Indiana. His timing and awareness of his defender in transition have come a long way.
- Watching Nene punk Ian Mahinmi was delicious.
- I am REALLY tired of watching Wizards miss dunks. It is starting to make me angry.
- I love watching Temple's defense, most of the time. He got out of position on his man and forced the help defender to slide over. He made not a move when David West got the ball and an uncontested jumpshot later, that was all she wrote. Great rotations a few minutes later forced a 24 second violation.
- The Wiz got close, but without any reliable shooters this is turning from 'run the offense and pray our execution is superior' into 'give Jordan Crawford the ball and pray'.
- Jeebus, George just abused Beal, driving through him like he wasn't even there and stepped back for an easy two. Ugh. He put the pain on Keveen a blink later and nailed it from the charity stripe.
- JCraw hit a long three-pointer at the buzzer because of some lazy defense from the Pacers and steeze. 67-58 Indiana.
- Wizards keep settling for long shots and it seems like this thing is about to go off the rails.
- The Wizards finally break the 70 point barrier with 4:25 remaining in the final frame. Yet the lead is only nine ... still, at this moment I think scoring nine points with the typical end-of-quarter/game production is asking too much.
- Nene scores and the crunch time points scored total jumps to four ... I may crap myself from excitement.
- Nene picks Paul George's pocket, putting the Pacers into the penalty as JCraw earns himself a trip to the line. I start hoping ... DAMN YOU, WIZARDS!
- It's looking bleak as hell when BB3 nails a shot off a screen. Beal. Corner three. Beal! On the move for three. Beal! Timeout Pacers, Wiz down a meager four points with 34.1 seconds left. Cue title.
- And then it ends
- Chris Singleton sighting!
- I think the thing that frustrates me most about players like Tyler Hansbrough (purely from an energy perspective) is that they consistently make the plays that the Wizards should be making and would if there were an established rotation (which I will not entirely lay the blame for on Randy Wittman).
- A 31-10 free throw disparity looks bad, but that's the style of offense the Wizards were playing. When teams are disciplined with their interior defense, it's really hard to get trips to the charity stripe.
- Nene and Kevin Seraphin had 8 TOs to go with 1 assist and 31 points on 26 shots. Washington needs at least one of them to be sparkling to have a real shot at pulling out a win. Neither took excellent care of the ball tonight and both failed to compensate with shot efficiency.
- Indiana really tried to give this one away and Washington just couldn't hang tough. I don't know if it's a psychological thing, but the young Wizards come back just fine. Once that scoreboard starts getting tight, things go straight back to hell in a handbasket. Randy has got to sniff out this dynamic and do something about it.
- Wizards headline is Wizards headline.