Wizards stay alive with 102-79 blowout at Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Wizards were tired of getting shoved around in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
So on Tuesday night, Marcin Gortat and his teammates pushed back hard.
Gortat delivered the best playoff game of his career, 31 points and 16 rebounds, and John Wall scored a playoff-best 27 points as Washington routed the Indiana Pacers 102-79 to cut the Eastern Conference semifinals deficit to 3-2.
"We don't have anything to lose now," Gortat said. "We play desperate. At the end of the day, we might lose. We have to play every minute of every game like it's the last one of the season."
The Wizards made a stunning turnaround after losing three straight, two on their home court in incredibly demoralizing fashion. Washington scored a franchise-low 63 points in Game 3 and then blew a 19-point, second-half lead in Game 4.
Washington refused to let it happen again this time, earning a trip home for Game 6 on Thursday.
The difference was obvious.
Wall broke free, Gortat dominated the middle and the motivated Wizards were simply overwhelming inside with a 62-23 rebounding edge.
Gortat produced more points and rebounds in 36 minutes than he had in the previous two games combined (six points and 13 rebounds). He was 13 of 15 from the field, 5 of 7 from the free-throw line, tied his career-best point total and finished with playoff career bests for points and rebounds.
"I was a decoy in Game 3 and Game 4," the 30-year-old Polish native said. "(Tuesday) was the time for me to perform. At some point in the second half, it was just fun to be in the game."
Wall seemed to enjoy himself, too.
The much more aggressive point guard went 11 of 20 from the field and 3 of 6 on 3s, finishing with five rebounds, five assists and five turnovers as he sliced through the Pacers' defense.
"They didn't stop me from being aggressive on both ends," Wall said. "But the biggest thing was just the way we played in the third quarter. They outscored us by like 40 in the other four games, so the third quarter was big for us tonight."
The 31-14 disparity during those 12 minutes completely changed the game, putting talk about the presumed conference finals rematch between Indiana and two-time defending NBA champ Miami temporarily on hold.
One possible explanation for what happened to the Pacers was fatigue.
Four of Indiana's five starters played at least 39 minutes in Game 4. Coach Frank Vogel was concerned enough that he gave the Pacers a day off Monday.
David West led Indiana with 17 points and six rebounds, but Paul George struggled after playing 46 minutes in Game 4. He was 5 of 15 from the field with 15 points, one rebound, two assists and four turnovers.
But the problems went much deeper that weariness. West was only the starter to grab more than two rebounds, Washington held Indiana to 39 percent shooting and they continually beat the Pacers to loose balls.
This was not what Indiana expected.
"We didn't show up to play. I don't know if we just thought we were going to come in here and these guys were going to roll over or what. They just played at a different level than we did all night," West said after Indiana's second-worst home playoff loss in its NBA history.
"It's a tough situation. We have to be able to handle these moments. We had no zip. We have to play. If we want this series, we have to take it."
Washington was the team doing that Tuesday.
The Wizards used a 15-6 run to close the half, turning a 32-30 deficit into a 45-38 lead.
In the disastrous third quarter, Indiana was outrebounded 18-4 and the Wizards made them pay time after time. Washington's 6-0 run extended the lead to 11, a 9-2 spurt pushed the margin to 60-45, and when the Wizards closed the third on a 10-3 charge, it was 76-52.
Washington led by as much as 30 in the fourth, and the Pacers didn't even start cutting into the deficit until Vogel pulled his starters midway through the quarter.
"They're not ready to go home," coach Randy Wittman said. "It said 3-1, which doesn't sound very good, but in our minds, we're very close to it being something else. They don't want this (season) to end."
Notes: Washington is 5-1 on the road and 1-3 at home in this year's playoffs. ... Indiana's worst home playoff loss came April 30, 2005 when Boston won 110-79. ... The Wizards have won two of their last three in Indy despite coming into the series with 12 consecutive losses at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. ... Indiana's 23 rebounds were a franchise low in the playoffs.
Updated May 14, 2014
Julian Edelman joins MFB to talk about yesterday's win at Gillette Stadium against the Detroit Lions
Fred Smerlas, Steve DeOssie and Butch Stearns break down all aspects of the Patriots win over the Lions, and take your calls as well.
WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price break down the Patriots' 34-9 win over the Lions, the team's seventh win in a row. The defense stepped up again and now gets a crack at Aaron Rodgers next Sunday.
How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...
Sam and Ben talk with Greg Dickerson about how fun this year's Celtics team is to watch as well Jeff Green trade ideas.
Kyle Draper joins Danny Picard to talk about the Celtics chances this season in the Eastern Conference, last Wednesday's home opener blowout against the Nets, and Rajon Rondo's future in Boston
Red Sox beat writer Brian MacPherson joins Danny Picard to talk about the Red Sox going after Jon Lester and other free agents.
The Hot Stove guys are talking about Pablo Sandoval and Jon Lester's contract offers from the Red Sox. They then por one out for the Giancarlo Stanton rumors being put to bed.
The Hot Stove boys are back again, talking about Jon Lester, Pablo Sandoval, Giancarlo Stanton's b
Dale and Michael get Jack Edwards' 'state of the B' report and talk about the win over the Blues at the Garden on Tuesday.
Andy Brickley joined the show and touched on last night's convincing win over a good team, Matt Bartkowski needing a wake up call, and the NHL review process.
Pierre joins the guys to talk about the Bruins struggles, the NHL franchise in Las Vegas, and the return of the glow puck!
Rob Bradford joined the show to discuss the latest signings by the Red Sox.
Tom Brady discussed the teams latest win and the great play of Revis.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Tim talks about Kirk Herbstreit's distaste for FBS schools scheduling FCS schools, and Lou talks about Marshawn Lynch's most recent incident with the media.
The Patriots extended their winning streak to 7 in dominant fashion over the visiting Lions. Also, in the early morning hours, multiple reports emerged that the Red Sox are preparing to sign SS Hanley Ramirez and 3B Pablo Sandoval. Also, the guys tease Christian about his nephew's drop in the end zone.
Detective Fauria tells us the infamous gloryhole story from VICE squad and other stories Christian's past.
We check in with the playmaker Michael Irvin for his weekly update on all things NFL. We talk to Michael about the Raiders first win, the LeGarrette Blount saga, and how the Pats will do against the Lions this weekend.
Michael and Dale discuss Jonas Gray's tardiness, and try and predict how the running-back will respond and make up for his error.
We talk with Tom E Curran and debate whether or not the Patriots current performance is more reminiscent of the 2004 or 2007 Patriots.
Brandon covers the NFL, particularly the Detroit Lions for Bleacher Report. He gives us his thoughts on this Sunday's game and how the Lions stack up against the Patriots.
Mikey, Villani, Lenny and Kerry Byrne are talking Patriots-Lions and how the team this year stacks up to Patriots teams of the past.
Some more Musical Mikey Magic to get ready for Sunday's Patriots-Lions game.
The guys previewed the upcoming Packers Patriots game and discussed the media's latest tweet beef.
Jerry Thornton's first podcast explores sports stories that would make for interesting 30 for 30 documentaries.
Andy Merritt of the New England Hockey Journal joined WEEI.com’s Scott McLaughlin to talk about the play of Vermont and Providence, as well as other happenings around Hockey East. Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy also joined the show to talk about his team’s good start, his freshman class and how he uses possession stats.
Christian in Foxboro returns, this time he's trolling Detroit sports radio station WDFN's Shep in the Morning Show. Christian rips Lions fans and asks why his nephew, Joseph, isn't getting the ball more.More from this show
Rob Bradford joined the show to discuss the latest signings by the Red Sox.More from this show