It was a great season, and though the Washington Wizards competed throughout the series, they came up short. After battling back from a double digit deficit in the fourth quarter, the Wizards were unable to generate enough offense to build on a one point lead, eventually going on to lose 93-80.
Before recapping Washington’s performance, I have to credit David West for leading the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals tonight. Whenever the Wizards gained momentum, West responded with a big bucket in crunch time. I jokingly called him “David Nowitzki” on Twitter, but it honestly looked like he wasn’t going to miss a shot all game long from the mid-range area. He finished the game with 29 points.
Unlike in Game 5 where Washington obliterated the Pacers at Indiana, John Wall looked hesitant to start the game. Instead of attacking the basket, he forced a few bad passes, which resulted in turnovers and never really got into a groove. When he did attack the basket, he wasn’t able to draw enough contact to get a foul call. Wall finished the game with 12 points on 16 shot attempts to go along side 9 assists.
Wall’s backcourt mate, Bradley Beal, didn’t have a great shooting night either. Both Wall and Beal struggled to knock down shots from the outside, and once they missed a few consecutive shots early in the first quarter, the Pacers were able to build on a lead. With that said, Beal did knock down a clutch three point shot in the fourth quarter to give Washington a one point advantage–a lead the Wizards obviously failed to take advantage of. He finished the game with 16 points on 19 shot attempts.
Marcin Gortat was spectacular in Game 5 and he started Game 6 in similar fashion, as he hit a few tough turnaround shots in the post over Roy Hibbert. Gortat has been solid all year long, but he’s been really effective in the NBA Playoffs and that continued tonight in Washington. Gortat scored 19 points, but wasn’t nearly as good on the glass as he was in Game 5, as he grabbed just 6 rebounds. Nene chipped in with 15 of his own points, but Washington wasn’t able to get much contribution from Trevor Ariza, who scored just 6.
Even though the series is over, the Washington Wizards have grown a lot over the past month or so. John Wall (23 years old) and Bradley Beal (20 years old) have gained an invaluable experience competing on one of the biggest stages the NBA has to offer. It would’ve been nice to get a second round playoff win at home, but Washington competed against two of the “toughest” defensive teams in the NBA Playoffs and will undoubtedly grow from this experience.