In three meetings over the course of the season, Washington beat Indiana every time, averaging 139.7 points a game. But in a compressed, injury-filled season, where players missed so much time due to injury and the coronavirus, how much can we take from those games.
Turns out, a lot in this case.
Washington raced out to an early lead and ran away from the Pacers for an easy 142-115 win, a game where the entire fourth quarter was garbage time. Washington was led by 25 from Bradley Beal, but this game was about the entire Washington team picking apart the Pacers’ defense.
With the win, the Wizards advance to take on the No. 1 seed Philadelphia 76ers in the first round, starting Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern in the City of Brotherly Love. It’s a sweet bit of redemption for a team crushed by COVID-19 the first part of the year — they didn’t have enough players to even practice for almost two weeks — and at the trade deadline heard calls from pundits (and other GMs) pushing for them to trade Beal and break it all up. The Wizards were patient and have been rewarded with a playoff spot.
'We want Philly' chants are ringing out at Capital One Arena.
— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) May 21, 2021
The loss ends the Pacers’ injury-fulled season. Malcolm Brogdon had 24 points on 9-of-23 shooting. Domantas Sabonis had a triple-double — 19 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists — but battled some foul trouble, and all he did was not near enough to impact the direction of this game.
Washington was playing downhill from the opening tip — the 142 points was a Wizards playoff record, topping the previous record of 131, set back in 1965.
Much of the nation got introduced to the Wizards’ secret weapon the second half of this season: Daniel Gafford has 15 points, 12 rebounds, and five blocks. Acquired from Chicago at the trade deadline, he has been given a chance and blossomed in the nation’s capital — and he’s just 22 years old under contract for two more years at $3.7M combined.
Gafford, Westbrook, Beal, and the rest of the Wizards will have their hands full in the next round.