The Wizards showed why they have only been able to win 11 games all season by having myriad chances to either maintain their own leads (as large as eight) or get back into the game after Indiana had taken their final advantage late in the game and botching their opportunities completely.
Washington turned the ball over 17 times to the Pacers eight and shot 14 percent worse than their hosts from the free throw line, negating their better shooting from the field overall (42 percent to 39 for the Pacers).
The worst transgressions came toward the end of the game, after both teams' bench bunch had taken turns trading baskets, the Pacers took the lead on a Roy Hibbert bank shot. The Wizards had the ball for the next 40 seconds and could only manage a wild shot-clock-beating three attempt by John Wall and then a weak reverse layup attempt by Nene that was swatted by Hibbert.
On their next possession Wall came down and promptly guessed wrong on where Paul George was going to plant his feet and committed a charge. It was symbolic of the Wizards offensive approach for the night -- go 100 mph in a direction with the ball, meet the defense, stop, spin, and then have no Plan B.
Sometimes it didn't work, like a couple of possession later when Jordan Crawford ran into a trap, spun and tossed the ball away for a turnover. Then it did, as when Crawford didn't hesitate on a three attempt and made it, cutting the Pacer lead back down to two with two minutes left in the game.
On the next Wizards possession, after Granger had missed a shot for Indiana, Wall raced down and settled immediately for a mid range, contested jump shot with no offensive rebounding help down for Washington. He missed. Then after their defense forced another miss from the Pacers, both Nene and Chris Singleton did the drive, spin, out of ideas move, forcing a rushed three-point attempt from Crawford, which missed.
Still with the ball, after an officials review of an out-of-bounds call, Wall got the ball and cut to the basket. Getting there, he almost immediately had nowhere to go and threw the ball back out toward the top of the key, where the ball rolled back over the midcourt line for a backcourt violation.
Even after all of that, the Wizards had a chance during the free throw endgame. After the Wall turnover and a pair of Danny Granger free throws, Crawford got the ball outside and since he couldn't get his feet set before the Pacer defense was on him, he drove to the basket, got fouled, and made the shot. Sweet opportunity to cut the lead to one, foul, and then try to tie with a three.
Except he missed the free throw.
The Pacers made their free throws and finally stomped out any more opportunities for the Wizards. Game over.
Crawford's 20 points was the seventh straight game he had scored 20 or more, the longest active streak in the league right now. He had to shoot 8-20 to achieve that mark against the Pacers.
It was not a good night for Wall, who looked out of sync with and without the ball. Wall was 4-9 for his 13 points and managed only two assists against his five turnovers.
Indiana did just enough to win, allowing the Wizards to make their mistakes and take advantage of just enough of those to get the home win.
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