Pacers suffocate Wizards in win
NBA • Indiana goes up 2-1, holds Washington to postseason worst for field-goal percentage.
Published: May 10, 2014 05:42PM
Updated: May 9, 2014 11:57PM
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Indiana Pacers guard Lance Stephenson (1) looks for a way around Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal during the first half of Game 3 of an Eastern Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff game in Washington, Friday, May 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington • Paul George had his best game of the series with 23 points and eight rebounds, and the Indiana Pacers held the Washington Wizards to a franchise-low playoff total Friday night in an 85-63 victory for a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Roy Hibbert was again a factor for Indiana with 14 points, five rebounds and three blocks.

Washington made only 24 field goals, another team postseason worst, on 73 attempts, 32.9 percent. That included 4 of 16 on 3s, and it didn’t get much better on free throws, where the Wizards were 11 of 21.

So much for the bandwagon-hopping in Washington. There were boos on occasion, and most of the fans started heading to the exits after George’s 3 with 3½ minutes left made it 75-58.

Game 4 is Sunday night in Washington.

George came in averaging 14.5 points and six rebounds after two games against the Wizards, but he overcame a slow start on a night filled with plenty of ugly offense from both teams.

The score was 17-all after the first quarter, and Indiana led 34-33 at halftime. It was only the 13th NBA playoff game in the shot-clock era, which dates to the 1954-55 season, that two teams combined for 67 or fewer first-half points, according to STATS. The record of 60 came in a 2004 game between Indiana and Detroit.

The Wizards’ final total of 63 points eclipsed the team postseason worst of 75, established 1½ weeks ago in Washington’s Game 5 victory that eliminated the Chicago Bulls in the first round. It’s also tied for the fourth-lowest total by any club since 1954-55.

Washington point guard John Wall came in with five turnovers in his previous four games, but he had seven Friday, to go along with 15 points and six assists. Bradley Beal scored 16 points but shot 6 for 19. Trevor Ariza had 12 points, but zero in the second half. Marcin Gortat scored four points one game after having 21. And Nene had eight points on 3-of-14 shooting and only three rebounds.

Perhaps Washington’s woes shouldn’t have been too surprising, given that the Pacers ranked No. 2 in the 30-team NBA in team defense during the regular season, allowing only 92.3 points per game. Not only that, but Washington’s two lowest-scoring games all season — 66 points in one, 73 in the other — came in losses to Indiana.

When their offense sagged in the third quarter, the Wizards appeared to lose interest at the defensive end. Right after a Wall-to-Beal alley-oop got the crowd loud in third quarter, the Pacers went on a 12-0 run with five players scoring, including Hibbert, who also contributed a tumbling tip of a missed shot at the offensive end to keep possession.

Hibbert made a twisting lefty shot in the point to put the Pacers ahead 50-38 midway through the period, a 12-point spread that was the largest for either team until then.

But the Pacers kept adding on, going up by as many as 17 before taking a 60-45 edge into the fourth quarter.

After a zero-point, zero-rebound disaster in a Game 1 loss, then a 28-point, nine-rebound domination in a Game 2 victory, Hibbert shot 6 for 9.

Playoffs schedule

Friday

• Indiana 85,Washington 63

(Pacers lead series 2-1)

• Oklahoma City at Los Angeles Clippers, Late

(Series tied 1-1)

Saturday

• Miami at Brooklyn,6 p.m., ABC

(Miami leads series 2-0)

• San Antonio at Portland, 8 p.m., ESPN

(Spurs lead series 2-0)

Spurs 114,Blazers 97

Portland 26 25 20 26 — 97

San Antonio 29 41 17 27 — 114

PORTLAND (97)

Batum 9-13 0-0 21, Aldridge 6-23 4-4 16, Lopez 3-10 2-2 8, Lillard 8-20 2-2 19, Matthews 6-12 0-0 14, Williams 2-3 0-0 4, Barton 5-5 2-2 13, Robinson 1-4 0-0 2, Watson 0-1 0-0 0, McCollum 0-2 0-0 0, Freeland 0-0 0-0 0, M.Leonard 0-0 0-0 0.

Totals 40-93 10-10 97.

SAN ANTONIO (114)

K.Leonard 8-9 0-0 20, Duncan 4-10 2-4 10, Splitter 5-10 0-4 10, Parker 8-19 0-2 16, Green 3-7 0-0 8, Ginobili 7-18 0-0 16, Belinelli 4-5 3-3 13, Diaw 5-6 1-1 12, Mills 3-3 0-0 7, Ayres 1-1 0-0 2, Baynes 0-0 0-0 0, Joseph 0-2 0-0 0, Bonner 0-0 0-0 0.

Totals 48-90 6-14 114.

3-Point Goals—Portland 7-18 (Batum 3-5, Matthews 2-4, Barton 1-1, Lillard 1-6, McCollum 0-1, Watson 0-1), San Antonio 12-20 (K.Leonard 4-4, Belinelli 2-3, Ginobili 2-4, Green 2-5, Mills 1-1, Diaw 1-1, Parker 0-2). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Portland 54 (Aldridge 10), San Antonio 49 (Splitter 10). Assists—Portland 15 (Lillard 5), San Antonio 27 (Parker 10). Total Fouls—Portland 18, San Antonio 17. A—18,581 (18,797).