The Washington Wizards started off with a much more sustained effort today to start out compared to yesterday. Pacers were playing this game without the services of Victor Oladipo and it showed, as they struggled to get points to open the game up. Both teams overall started off shooting sub-40 percent for the first frame.
Things started to pick up for the Wizards when Shabazz Napier scored 7 straights points to give the Wizards a 34-29 lead. Perhaps having him coming off the bench for this game was what was needed to spark him today. He finished with 16 points.
Malcolm Brogdon and Aaron Holiday checked in at the 8:00 mark in the 2nd quarter and from there the Pacers went on a 27-13 run to close the half out and took a 56-47 lead at halftime. The Pacers would not let the lead go again.
In the second halt, it became the TJ Warren Show. Fresh off a 53-point performance on Saturday, Warren got hot in the 3rd, making 14 points in the quarter. He finished with a game-high 34 points. It didn’t help that the Wizards’ defense also fell off a cliff. Giving up 34 points in the 3rd, and allowing the Pacers to open up a 22-point lead.
From there the Pacers never looked back. Wizards got within 7 after an Issac Bonga layup with 1:16 left in the game, but could not get closer. Wizards fall 111-100.
- Thomas Bryant - Another good performance. His jump shot looks really good. He is confident when he shoots and it’s helping him to get shots off as bigs continue to sag off of him. He has also done a good job boxing out and rebounding.
- Jerome Robinson - Very Encouraging. Coming off the bench, but in double figures each of the seeding games. He is not hesitating, looking for his shot and making the most of his minutes. Robinson finished with 17 points.
- Rui Hachimura - Baffling. He looks very lost on the court. Struggled to post up 6’0” Aaron Holiday who guarded him a good portion of the game. Also has struggled on defense, keeping offensive player in front of him. He finished with 9 points on 4-12 shooting.
- Troy Brown Jr. - Intriguing - Although TBJ only had 10 points, he had 7 rebounds and 8 assists. He also played PG down the stretch at the end of the game. Would be interesting to see if he gets more minutes at that position. He has shown impact on the game even when he is not scoring.
- Issac Bonga - Solid. Overall Bonga played well. He hit one 3 pointer, but otherwise not really a factor offensively. He made some plays on defense and added 3 steals for his troubles. Bonga has shown he can play defense, but the question will be if he can contribute anything on the other end.
Washington didn’t have enough defensive support
Doesn’t matter if it’s Devin Booker, Caris LeVert or TJ Warren/Malcolm Brogdon, this team has struggled to slow down the swingmen they have had to face in these seeding games. This team lacks a good consistent wing defender. At times, Brown shows flashes, but he has struggled mightily staying in front of his man in these seeding games.
The Wizards struggled to get into offensive sets
We already know that the Wizards don’t have a good portion of their offense, but they did not do enough to push the pace. When they started their offense in a half court set, there wasn’t consistent ball movement and a lack of spacing, which caused their offense to go on a number of large droughts, allowing Indiana to push their lead out.
If the Wizards want to get efficient on offense, they have to recognize that half court sets are not the ideal mode for this current roster and that they need to push the pace as often as possible.