Danny Granger scored a single point in the first half of the Pacers matchup at Washington Thursday night, but the second half arrived, and Granger scored 15 second half points to lead Indiana all the way back from a 22-point deficit to beat the Wizards, 85-83.
Granger was joined by Roy Hibbert in the second half flurry, as Hibbert scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the half.
Washington started fast, building a 16 point lead in the quarter behind the streaky shooting of Jordan Crawford. Crawford made six of seven shots for 14 points and he added two rebounds and two steals in the quarter to lead the way for the Wizards.
The Wizards shot 63 percent in the first quarter, but stalled out after that, shooting 35 percent the rest of the game. That slump only brought them even with the Pacers for the game, but Indiana managed to get 14 offensive rebounds versus just five for Washington. The second chance points for the Pacers were nearly double what the Wizards were able to muster (18-10).
For the large part of the fourth quarter, the Wizards gamely fought off the resurgent Pacers, but the only lead the Pacers needed to take was the last one, and when Paul George took advantage of a second chance three-pointer after missing another one seconds before, he took and hit it, giving the Indiana its first lead of the game after 47 minutes of losing.
The Wizards had their chances in the last minute, but the Pacers stole the inbounds pass right after the George three-pointer, got an offensive rebound with 33 seconds left, and John Wall failed to get his shot off before the buzzer. When it was all said and done, it was just another loss for Washington.
The Pacers had assigned Paul George to cover John Wall on the last play, and his length stalled Wall's attempts to shoot over him. Finally, Wall shook George and headed to the basket for a floater to beat the buzzer, but he was a half second too late, despite the fact that the ball went in.
Making his new home debut, Nene played 32 minutes and joined his new teammates by being just as cold as they were, shooting 3-9, scoring only six and corralling a mere five rebounds, despite plenty of errant shots from both teams to choose from.
In the aftermath, Mike Prada looks at Nene and his impact on the game, for better or worse, over at Bullets Forever:
If Wednesday's game was an example of all the positives that Nene brings to the table, tonight's fourth quarter showed a lot of the negatives. He's not a leaper, so players can get rebounds on him. He can set good screens, but too often slips them instead of holding his position. There were many reasons the Wizards lost, but his shortcomings played a big role. Roy Hibbert got easy shots on him in the post to keep the Pacers within striking distance, and the Wizards' struggling fourth-quarter offense did the rest.
Meanwhile, Nathan S. at Indy Cornrows tips his cap to David West, who played the role of manly man coming back from injury to return to the game:
What should be celebrated is the way the Pacers were able to close this game out. Not only did the Pacers keep loose balls alive on a night they struggled to hold onto the ball, but they couldn't seem to get on the right side of 50-50 balls, making the way the game ended really noteworthy. David West was tremendous. His 10 first quarter points salvaged one of the worst opening efforts of the season, and to come back despite a dislocated finger to make the plays he made in the fourth shows just how valuable he is to the team.
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