Jared Wade: Sadly, the Pacers Need a Valiant, Near-Miraculous Comeback
Itís difficult to get too excited about a team that trailed the Washington Wizards by
20 at half time. But it was a damn exciting finish. So we have to give these guys
some credit for crawling their way back and executing on nearly every possession
down the stretch to somehow scrape together an improbable 85-83 victory in DC.
There was absolutely no energy in the first quarter. This extended to the, by my
estimate, 6,000 people in attendance but thatís no excuse. The Pacers got run out
of the building in the opening minutes, allowing the Wizards to convert their first
7 shots, which came on 7 assists, as they piled up a 17-6 early lead. By the end
of the first, that would be extended to a 34-18 margin.
The Wizards offense fell off a cliff in the second quarter but it was little help for
a still-embarrassing Pacers attack that managed just 13 points in the period. At
the half, they were down by 20. Again, this was against the Washington
While such futility is pretty much inexcusable for a team that is billed as one that
nobody will want to face in the playoffs (especially since they had the night before
off), it did set the stage for some wonderful regular season theatrics.
Behind the teamís most dynamic weapon, Indiana reverted to the team we saw
demoralize the Clippers the other night. Danny Granger dropped 11 of his 16
total points in the period. Roy Hibbert also started to realize he could have his
way in the paint and started punishing Nene down low. The reserves checked in
and things continued to roll. By continuing to thwart the Wizards sputtering
offense and, finally, starting to score like they should against the Wizards, it was
once again a game heading into the fourth.
And early in the final period is when the bench unit was at its best. Everyone
chipped in on the scoring load as the backups turned a 9-point deficit to 2. Coach
Frank Vogel then went back to the guys with the bigger paychecks. Letís just say
that was a good decision.
David West re-entered the game after having headed to the locker room early in
the third quarter with a dislocated left pinky finger. He promptly stuck a jumper
then stepped into a role where he would do all the little things for the rest of the
game. Shortly thereafter, he make an expert entry pass to a perfectly positioned
Hibbert, who caught the ball in motion spinning to his left and dropped a hook
shot over Nene as easily as taking a coxinha from a baby. Hibbert made two
more moves that were just as seamless to ensure his team, which was
unraveling a bit on the other end and letting the Wizards score, could remain
within striking distance...CONTINUE READING AT 8p9s