Everything went wrong for the Washington Wizards in loss to Indiana Pacers

Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Washington Wizards finally faced their first Eastern Conference opponent, and things did not go well.

In strange fashion, the Washington Wizards did not play their first Eastern Conference opponent until their seventh game of the season. Their first six games were all against teams outside of their conference.

Coming into the game against the Indiana Pacers, it looked like this could be a winnable one. The Wizards had a great chance of starting their Eastern Conference slate 1-0.

The Indiana Pacers, although they had homecourt advantage, had just played the Charlotte Hornets the night before. They lost 122-120 in overtime. So the Wizards should have had a leg up on a fatigued Pacers team.

But they weren’t only fatigued, they were banged up. And they still are. Just two weeks into the season, the Indiana Pacers are already dealing with a bevy of injuries. Just check out the injury report before things tipped off against the Wizards.

Of the Pacers listed in that tweet, Domas Sabonis was the only one that played against the Wizards. He proved to be a big difference-maker.

Sabonis was absent from the Pacers’ loss to the Hornets the night before their game versus the Wizards. While I’ll never be upset that a player is healthy, or glad that they’re injured, I wouldn’t have minded seeing Sabonis rest that calf a little bit more. Just to make sure it’s fully healthy. I’m looking out for him!

Sabonis being active is where things first started to go wrong for the Wizards. Even though he had a tough shooting night, going just 4-11 from the field and eventually fouling out, Sabonis was a difference-maker for the Pacers. He was physical down low, bullying Washington’s big men to the tune of 17 rebounds in 27 minutes. Since the Wizards couldn’t stop him, they had to foul him, but he made them pay there, too. Sabonis went 5-6 from the free-throw line.

More than anything, he was a tone-setter, and for the Pacers’ physical, plodding style of basketball, having a tone-setter out there is crucial.

All night, the Pacers had their way with the Wizards defense. However, it wasn’t Indiana’s usual key contributors torching the Wizards.

While Malcolm Brogdon struggled (21.4 percent shooting), T.J. Warren poured in 21 points while shooting 60 percent from the field. Aaron Holiday shot an even more impressive 70 percent on his way to an 18-point performance. And there was no stopping Doug McDermott off the bench. McBuckets went 4-6 from downtown and finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. As a team, the Pacers were hot from beyond the arc, making 40 percent of their threes on their way to victory.

While the short-handed Pacers got contributions everywhere, the now healthy Wizards roster was struggling. More than ever, Rui Hachimura looked like a rookie. He missed all five of his shots and finished with an offensive rating of just 22. He played only 20 minutes in total, the second-fewest of his short career.

Isaac Bonga also missed all (two) of his shots. Isaiah Thomas was just 3-10 form the field. Ish Smith went 1-5. Both Mortiz Wagner and Troy Brown shot 33 percent from the floor. Even Bradley Beal, who finished with a game-high 30 points (plus five assists and five rebounds) shot just 1-12 from three. This is already the second time this season that Beal has missed ten or more three-point attempts. He had done it zero time in his seven prior seasons.

As a whole, the Wizards shot just 38.9 percent from the field. Despite starting the game by making six of their first twelve three-pointers, the Wizards made only seven of them over the next three quarters. They finished 13-40. Yuck.

In defeat, the Wizards allowed 121 points to the Indiana Pacers. That’s the most the Pacers have scored in any game this season, and they played an overtime game. Of the seven teams that the Wizards have faced, three of them (Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Houston Rockets) have all scored season-highs against the Wizards. The San Antonio Spurs‘ 124 points against the Wizards is their second-highest total to date. I don’t think this trend is going anywhere anytime soon.

The Wizards faced a beatable team without some of their best players for the second time in less than a week. When Karl Anthony-Towns was out for the Timberwolves, the Wizards dropped the ball and got beat. When they faced the Pacers without Victor Oladipo or Myles Turner, they couldn’t capitalize.

dark. Next. Healthy roster will provide flexibility for the Wizards

Sabonis came back and dominated. Beal’s shooting woes continued. The Wizards bench, which has been so good this season, was thoroughly outplayed. Mortiz Wagner fouled out in 13 minutes. It was just a bad night for the Wizards. Unfortunately, they’re probably going to have a lot more of those. There are still 75 games left…