The Washington Wizards' Game 5 drubbing of the Indiana Pacers included a 62-23 rebounding edge and John Wall's first outburst of the second round series, but adding to the list that hinted just how bad the effort was for Frank Vogel's team was center Marcin Gortat. The Polish Machine scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in the 102-79 Washington victory, and his performance came with ease.
From the Washington Post:
"When you score the first basket, second basket, you feel better," Gortat said. "You feel the flow of the game and everything is working for you defensively and offensively. At some point in the middle of the game, it was fun to be in the game. Everything works, you feel immortal."
Immortal, indeed. It was likely relieving for Wizards coach Randy Wittman that his big man found success. Gortat took a bit of on-air heat in the Wizards' 85-63 Game 3 loss to the Pacers, when he failed to run back on defense in the second half as Wall struggled on one-man fastbreaks. Then in Game 4, Gortat scored two points and grabbed just three rebounds.
"Nobody was happy with Game 4. Personally for me, it was one big hell," said Gortat.
Gortat was nothing short of aggressive in Game 5 on Tuesday. He added two blocks and, according to NBA.com's player tracking data, held the Pacers to 1-of-5 shooting at the rim. Offensively, he shot 13-for-15 from the floor, scoring in every which way but mostly allowing the looks to come within the flow of the offense. Of any 30-point, 15-rebound game in the past 30 postseasons, no player has shot as well as Gortat, according to Basketball-Reference.
Gortat scored off his seven offensive boards, took Hibbert into the post for spin moves and lefty hook shots and came off screens to hit short jumpers. Of course, he took advantage of the pick-and-roll game with Wall to score against poor rotations by Indiana.
So while the Pacers could stand to find some consistency, the Wizards may have found the right dynamic between Wall and Gortat to put together back-to-back wins and force a Game 7.