After the Wizards imploded in the third quarter of Game 4 and found themselves down 3 -1 in the series with game 5 being played in Indiana many people expected that the Pacers would continue the momentum they developed in game 4 and use it to finish off the series for good. Instead the Wizards came out determined and forced a game 6 back on their home court with a convincing 102-97 victory.
The Wizards had many great performances in the all around team win, however none were better or more unexpected than the dominant performance of center Marcin Gortat who finished with 31 points and 16 rebounds. He had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the first half alone. This coming after he scored 6 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the previous 2 games combined. When he excited the game late in the fourth quarter he had 1 more rebound than the entire Pacer team. He was an astounding 13-15 from the field for an almost 87% shooting percentage. It is the highest field goal percentage for a player with 30 points and 15 rebounds in playoff history. John Wall was almost as dominant with a 27 point, 5 rebound, 5 assist performance. He was 3-6 from the 3-point line after struggling from the field for most of the season and especially in the playoffs. 21 of his points came on jump shots, which is more than his previous 4 games combined. Second year player Bradley Beal continues to develop into an all star with an 18 point, 8 rebound, 4 assist game. He has a world class jump shot and is developing into a all around threat. Ray Allen comparisons are pretty accurate when describing the way his game looks. Trevor Ariza had 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists and continued to be a defensive presence all over the court. After the presence of the bench had a huge impact in game 4 there were only 12 points scored by the bench combined in game 5.
The Pacers really need to find some consistency if they want to be a serious championship contender. David West was the leading scorer with 17 points and 6 rebounds. Paul George had 15 points on 5-15 from the field. Those two represented the only double figure scorers for the Pacers. Chris Copeland had 9 points off the bench and may be in line for more playing time the next time they struggle to score.
Game 6 is obviously not a must win in literal terms for the Pacers, however there are many reasons they must wrap this series up now. They have been inconsistent for most of 2014 and it’s hard to predict how they will come out. The crowd in Washington is going to be loud and rocking and it will be interesting to see how both teams respond. The key matchup will be who plays better between Roy Hibbert and Gortat because in this series whoever has gotten the better of that matchup tends to win the game.
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