If you turned this game on in the 3rd quarter you would have thought that your television made a mistake. Its not everyday you see two NBA teams that both have their point totals in the 40's after halftime. The television was in fact accurate and it was one of the lowest scoring first halves in NBA history. The Pacers had given up 102 points in game one. They played better defense in game 2 holding the Wizards to 82 points. They really clamped down in game 3 by limiting them to a meager 30 second half points in their 85-63 win. It was by far the ugliest game of this postseason and that may be the way The Pacers like it. They are not a fast break team nor are they a particularly strong outside shooting team. What they are is an all around team whose biggest strength is their defense.
This was a disastrous 48 minutes of basketball for the Wizards. Their youth and inexperience had been a benefit earlier in the playoffs and even in game 1 because they always played loose and confident. However they found out last night that as you get deeper into these playoff series a good team find ways to take away what you like to do and you have to counteract. Since the Pacers have turned up their defense, especially the amount of ball pressure they have been putting on the Wizards guards, Washington has had a hard time finding ways to score. They were 3-26 on contested jump shots including 1-17 during the first 3 quarters. This pales in comparison to the first two games when they shot 42% on such shots. Bradley Beal was the high scorer with 16 points on 6-19 from the field. He was defended by Paul George often and had a difficult time dealing with his length. John Wall had 15 points and 6 assists. Trevor Ariza had a solid game with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
George was the player of the game for his defense just as much as the 23 point, 8 rebound, 4 assist game he had on offense. He has been consistent throughout the Pacers struggles and is taking steps towards becoming a superstar. Roy Hibbert had 3 blocked shots and contested many others while chipping in 14 points and 5 rebounds. His improved play takes his team to a another level. David West was strong on both ends of the court and finished with 12 points. Veteran Luis Scola had 11 points off the bench.
After some blowouts the losing team must throw the game film away and just forget about it, however this should not be the case for Washington. They need to study what Indiana is doing to them defensively and finds ways to counteract them. The Pacers only scored 85 points so the Wizards defense has been good enough to win. It will be up to the Wizards coaching staff to finds ways to put more points on the board.
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