The Wizards put together a solid, all-around performance to pick up a 109-102 win over the Pacers on Saturday night. The win gives Washington the head-to-head tiebreaker over Indiana, by virtue of winning the season series 2-1.
Bradley Beal led the way with an efficient 19 point performance, but the rest of the roster chipped in as well. Marcin Gortat had his best game since the All-Star break with 18 points and 8 rebounds, Kelly Oubre added 16 off the bench, and Tomas Satoransky finished with 12 points, 8 assists, and 5 rebounds. The team’s stellar ball movement led to good looks for everyone throughout the game.
LOOK AT THE BALL MOVEMENT. pic.twitter.com/TVoPm3o6SF— NBC Sports Wizards (@NBCSWizards) March 18, 2018
Washington also learned from the defensive mistakes of their previous meeting against Indiana earlier in the month. They limited Victor Oladipo to 18 points on 16 shots, only allowed the Pacers to shoot 15 free throws, and limited them to just four fast break points. It was a good thing they did, because the Pacers had a great night making the difficult shots. Indiana shot 50 percent from deep, and Lance Stephenson had arguably his best performance of the season, scoring a season-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting while adding 5 assists and 5 rebounds.
Tomas Satoransky gets what he wants
Satoransky played a key role in helping Washington set the tone early in a game where they couldn’t get shots to fall right away. He engulfed Cory Joseph with his size on the defensive end and worked to get inside positioning on offense, which allowed him to post up Joseph to get easy shots.
He only took three shots after the first eight minutes of the game, but it didn’t really matter. By establishing an early presence, he gave the rest of the team the space they needed to get hot later in the game and establish a comfortable lead throughout most of the game.
Victor Oladipo did not get what he wanted
Oladipo had his moments, like any star does, but they kept him from getting a lot of the easy shots off screens and in transition that he got in the last meeting. They cut down on their turnovers and did a much better job of funneling Oladipo into help defense to force contested shots and passes:
It won’t be quite as easy to make that defensive scheme work when Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis are healthy, because they space the floor so well, but credit to the Wizards for understanding Indiana’s personnel limitations and adjusting accordingly.
- Marcin Gortat and Kelly Oubre both had their best scoring outputs of the month. The Pacers’ defensive issues without Turner certainly had a part in that, but every little bit of confidence helps as the team gets closer to the playoffs.
- Ramon Sessions once again had another game where he did some nice things, including make a pair of 3-pointers, but the team was a -9 with him on the floor. That’s not all his fault—it’s not like he could do much about Lance Stephenson going off—but it would be nice to see a stint where the score looks better when he heads back to the bench than it did when he entered the game at some point.
Next up: The Wizards travel to San Antonio to face the Spurs Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. ET.