The Washington Wizards had an opportunity to take a 2-0 series lead at Indiana on Wednesday, but came up short as the Pacers got a close win behind Roy Hibbert‘s big performance. The Wizards will now head home to the nation’s capital, looking to regain the series lead at the Verizon Center. The game will tip off at 8:00pm EST.
- Roy Hibbert scored 28 points to go along side 9 rebounds in Game 2, which was basically his best game since before the All-Star break. Washington allowed him to get to his “sweet spots” early on and he got in a rhythm right out of the gate. With that said, the Pacers only won by 4 points, despite Hibbert’s breakout performance. The Wizards have to do a better job at forcing him further away from the basket, making him put the ball down on the floor before he shoots.
- Trevor Ariza scored just 6 points in Game 2 after hitting all 6 of his three point attempts in Game 1. He’s played very well at home during the playoffs and I’d expect a bounce back performance.
- After outrebounding the Pacers by 17 in Game 1, the Wizards only grabbed 5 more rebounds in Game 2. Drew Gooden contributed with 13 of his own rebounds off the bench in the first game, but wasn’t nearly as productive in the second game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Trevor Booker gets more minutes in Game 3.
Key Match Up:
The NBA is filled with elite guards and John Wall has had to go up against some of the league’s best throughout the regular season, but he hasn’t had to deal with that during the playoffs. Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin aren’t starting caliber guards and George Hill has struggled mightily for quite some time. With that said, Wall has had trouble scoring the ball in the NBA Playoffs and that unfortunately continued in Game 2, where he made just 2 of his 13 shot attempts.
Washington will go as far as John Wall could take them and he has to take advantage of his match up against George Hill. Wall is capable of getting to the basket whenever he wants, but lately, he’s been passing up shots at the basket to kick the ball out to the perimeter, which didn’t work in Game 2. When his shooters aren’t knocking down shots, Wall has to remain aggressive and look for his shot at the basket.
His on-ball pressure against George Hill was also very bad and he can’t allow Hill to penetrate like he did in Game 2. Washington feeds off Wall’s energy on the defensive side of the floor, and when they force turnovers like Wall is capable of doing, the Wizards will get opportunities to score in transition.
After a miserable Game 2, I’ll be interested to see how John Wall bounces back in Game 3.