Indiana wins series 4-2
|Game 1: Monday, May 5th|
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|Game 2: Wednesday, May 7th|
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|Game 3: Friday, May 9th|
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|Game 4: Sunday, May 11th|
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|Game 5: Tuesday, May 13th|
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|Game 6: Thursday, May 15th|
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8:00 PM ET, May 15, 2014
Verizon Center, Washington, DC
Roy Hibbert revived himself in Game 2. Team defense smothered the way to a win in Game 3. Paul George went off for 39 points in Game 4. And, after an ugly Game 5, David West came up big in the clincher.
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West scored 29 points Thursday night, and the Pacers blew a 16-point second-half lead but pulled away late in a 93-80 win that ousted the Wizards in six games.
"With all the adversity, we kept pulling together," West said. "Guys just showed unbelievable grit, unbelievable toughness."
So, for all their mysterious slumps and chemistry curiosities, the Pacers are back where they were last season -- playing the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Game 1 against the two-time defending NBA champions is Sunday in Indianapolis.
"We just keep a bubble," said Hibbert, whose off-and-on disappearing act was one of the more baffling late-season developments. "We don't try to let our emotions show too much. Sometimes it does. But we stuck together."
Indiana took Miami to seven games last year. If the Pacers spread the wealth the way they did against the Wizards, LeBron James and the Heat could be in for a tough series.
On Thursday, it was West's turn. He went 13-for-26 from the field -- a career playoff high in shot attempts. His pair of jumpers, including a tough fadeaway, started a game-ending 20-6 run after Bradley Beal's 3-pointer gave the Wizards a one-point lead with 8½ minutes to play.
"When David West has that look, when he's assertive and he demands the ball, I know we're in good hands," said George, who was just 4-for-11 and scored 12 points. "He's never failed us when he's given us that look and he's told us in the huddles, 'Get me the ball.'"
Marcin Gortat scored 19 points, and John Wall had 12 points and nine assists for the Wizards, who ended their best playoff run in decades. Washington won a playoff series for the first time since 2005 and a second-round game for the first time since 1982.
After going an NBA-best 35-6 at home during the regular season, the Pacers have reversed that trend in the playoffs.
|Opp FG pct||42%||38%|
|Opp 3-pt FG pct||36%||29%|
|-- ESPN Stats & Information|
The Wizards ultimately were undone by an inability to win at home, going just 1-4 at the Verizon Center and 5-1 on the road in the playoffs.
The future looks bright, however, with youngsters Wall and Beal manning the backcourt.
"Nobody expected us to be here," Wall said. "I think a lot of teams respect us now. We definitely made Indiana earn it."
They appeared to have a fix on the home-court demons when Beal stole a rebound from Hibbert, then hit the 3-pointer that put the Wizards up 74-73.
But that was Washington's only lead of the second half. The Wizards went five minutes without a point, including a span of three turnovers in four possessions, and scored only two field goals the rest of the way.
"We spent so much energy trying to just make that comeback," Beal said, "we just ended up being dead at the end."
Mike and Mike
Pacers Sports & Entertainment's Quinn Buckner covers the struggles the Pacers have experienced, the status of Indiana, the keys to beating the Heat, Roy Hibbert's sensitivity and more.
The Pacers were 33-7 on Jan. 20 before limping to the finish, barely holding on to the conference's No. 1 seed. Things didn't look much better when they were pushed to seven games in the first round by eighth-seeded Atlanta or when they lost Game 1 at home to the Wizards.
Then, after winning three in a row, there was the embarrassing Game 5, in which Indy lost by 23 and was outrebound 62-23.
"Nobody was happy about it," Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. "And they came out and played angry."
The Wizards had to reschedule a Lady Gaga concert to host the game, upsetting the singer's fans and prompting an apology from team owner Ted Leonsis. Instead of "Little Monsters" in the arena, there were big ones -- such as a 56-40 deficit early in the third quarter.
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But the Wizards answered with an 11-2 run capped by Wall's one-on-three transition layup, Washington's first fast-break basket. Wall was particularly assertive at the start of the fourth quarter, but the Pacers' defense held firm when it mattered, with nary a sign of adversity.
"We've been through it all this season," said Lance Stephenson, who added 17 points. "And I feel like everything that we went through made us stronger."
Wall expressed his support for coach Randy Wittman, whose contract is expiring. ... Gortat on the Wizards' home woes: "Maybe we have to be locked before the game in the hotel and have a team breakfast in the morning, have two buses from the hotel to the game."
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 15: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards warms up before a game against the Indiana Pacers...(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: David West was the consistent force throughout Game 6 for the Pacers. West tallied a game-high 29 points, adding six rebounds and four assists to his strong effort.
LVP: The starting Washington backcourt did not have a repeat of its great Game 5 performance. John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for just 28 points on 36 attempts from the floor after combining for 45 points in Game 5.
That was ... what we've been waiting for: Indiana has given us a lot to talk about during the playoffs with its struggles. Despite all of that, we have the matchup we've been talking about all season: Miami and Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals.
The Pacers and Heat split their season series this season, with both teams winning on their home floor, but the Pacers have been right at home on the road this postseason. Indiana has won 5 of 6 away from the Fieldhouse, limiting opponents to over 9 fewer points per game on the road.[+]
Pacers Home vs Road This Postseason
The Pacers held the Wizards to 26% shooting on contested jump shots in their four wins this series, including 19% in Game 6 (5-of-27). For the series, the Wizards shot 11-of-50 (22%) when George Hill, Roy Hibbert or Lance Stephenson contested a shot. The Pacers also limited the Wizards' open looks in their four victories, allowing 19.8 uncontested shots per game. They allowed 26.5 such shots in their two losses.
The Pacers have played 13 games in the 2014 postseason entering the Eastern Conference Finals. Since the NBA expanded the 1st round to a best-of-7 series in 2003, that's tied for the second-most games played by a number 1 seed entering the conference finals.[+]
Most Games Played By #1 Seed - Entering Conference Finals Since 2003 Postseason
The Wizards took their first lead of the game on a Bradley Beal three with about eight and a half minutes left. But it would be their only lead as the Pacers finished the game on a 20-6 run to close out the series. The Wizards missed 12 of their last 14 shots, including 7 threes in as many attempts.[+]
Final 8:02 of 4th Quarter in Game 6
Lance Stephenson had success attacking the basket in Game 6, scoring 14 points on drives and transition plays after struggling on such plays the first five games. As a result, Stephenson made more shots in the paint (8) in Game 6 than in Games 1-5 (7).[+]
Lance Stephenson Offense, This Series
The Pacers have shown an ability to bounce back as they have posted a 4-0 record in games following a loss this postseason.[+]
Pacers in Games Following a Loss This Postseason
The Heat and Pacers will meet in the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight season. It's the first time the same teams will meet in consecutive conference finals since 2005 and 2006, when the Pistons and Heat met in back-to-back years. But there is good news for the Pacers; the last time a team was beaten by the same opponent in the conference finals in consecutive seasons was 1989 and 1990, when the Pistons beat the Bulls two years in a row.
The Pacers are seeking back-to-back Conference Final appearances for the first time since making 3 straight spanning 1998-2000. Should the Pacers advance to play the Heat in the Conference Finals it would be a rematch from last year when the Heat won in a hard-fought 7-game series. The teams split 4 games this season.[+]
Head-to-Head Last 2 Seasons - Including Playoffs
Last time the Wizards won a Conference Semifinals game at home: - April 29, 1979 (Game 7 vs Atlanta Hawks); 100-94 - Team was known as the Bullets - Elvin Hayes led the Bullets with 39 points - Andre Miller was the only current Wizards player alive (March 19, 1976) - 11 years before John Wall was born, 14 years before Bradley Beal was born
The Pacers are 8-1 all-time in best-of-7 series when leading 3-2 (as an NBA franchise). Their only series loss came in the 1994 Conference Finals against the Knicks. Only 8 of 221 teams in NBA history have overcome a 3-1 series deficit. The 2005-06 Suns were the last team to accomplish that feat in the First Round by defeating the Lakers. If there is a Game 7, the Pacers are 3-4 all-time in Game 7s as an NBA franchise (defeated Hawks in 7 games in 2014 First Round). The Wizards franchise is 6-3 all-time in Game 7s, but have not played a Game 7 since defeating the Spurs in the 1979 Eastern Conference Finals.[+]
Teams To Comeback From 3-1 Deficit - NBA History
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