Indiana Pacers Withstand Washington Wizards, 93-89

By J.M. Nicholas

When these two teams played a week ago in Washington, the Washington Wizards led the Indiana Pacers most of the way. The Pacers pulled out a victory in the game’s final minutes, after trailing by 22 at one point. Thursday night, the rivalry switched to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, in Indiana. The result wasn’t as ugly as the 85-83 game between these two teams a week ago, but it wasn’t much prettier.

The Wizards (11-39) currently hold the second-worst record in the NBA. Washington had lost four games in a row before meeting the Pacers (30-20) Thursday night, having blown three fourth quarter leads during that losing streak. Indiana has beat Washington five straight times, and eight times in a row at bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Thursday’s game was back and fourth, with a 70-69 score in the final minute of the third quarter. The score was tied 80-80 with 4:52 left in the fourth quarter. Indiana took an 87-85 lead with one minute remaining in the game. Washington held the score close, but never completely closed the gap.

Danny Granger led all scorers with 25, the second time in three games that Granger has scored 24 or more. Granger scored only 5 points on 2-8 shooting the previous night, in a loss against the New Jersey Nets. Granger matched that point total in the first three minutes of the game against the Wizards.

Indiana had just seven turnovers against Washington Thursday night. The Wizards shot just 42.3% from the field, but still shot better than the Pacers, who hit only 39.2% of their shots. Thursday’s game was the seventeenth time this season that Indiana has shot below 40% from the floor, and the ninth time Indiana has won when shooting worse than their opponent. The victory was Frank Vogel’s fiftieth as a head coach.

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