INDIANA PACERS (62-30)
at WASHINGTON WIZARDS (49-41)
NBA Playoffs - Eastern Conference Semifinals
Game 4 - Indiana leads series 2-1
Tip-off: Sunday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Washington -4.5, Total: 180
After scoring a franchise-low 63 points in Friday's Game 3 blowout loss, the Wizards try to regroup quickly on Sunday night when they attempt to tie up their Eastern Conference Semifinals with the Pacers.
Washington has gone ice-cold since scoring 102 points in Game 1, averaging only 72.5 PPG on 39% FG and 24% threes over two straight defeats. Indiana's first-half offense was also pretty bad on Friday (34 points), but the club scored 51 points after halftime and finished 7-of-15 from three-point range during its 85-63 rout. The Pacers improved to 24-21 SU (20-25 ATS) on the road this season, but are still a weak 28-41 ATS (41%) with less than two days' rest. Despite two straight defeats, the Wizards are still 10-2 ATS (9-3 SU) in their past 12 games, including 6-2 ATS in the postseason. Although they have been a subpar home team this season at 23-21 SU and 17-25-2 ATS, they are an excellent 40-28-1 ATS (59%) with 0-to-1 day of rest, and are a strong 22-17-1 ATS (56%) after an SU loss. Over the past three seasons, Indiana is 10-3 SU in the nation's capital, but Washington holds the 8-5 ATS advantage in these 13 meetings. Although the Pacers are 4-15 ATS (21%) when facing a winning team in the second half of this season, they are also 20-11 ATS (65%) as a road underdog of 3.5 to 6 points in the past three seasons. Washington is mildly concerned with PF Nene Hilario's ankle injury, but he is expected to start on Sunday, while Indiana remains without backup C Andrew Bynum (knee).
Indiana's offense wasn't very effective during the regular season (96.7 PPG on 44.9% FG and 35.7% threes), and it has been even worse in the playoffs with 92.1 PPG on 44.2% FG (37.8% threes). Turnovers have also caused problems in the postseason (13.5 TO per game), but it as seemingly corrected this problem with only 8.0 TOPG during the past two wins. The defense continues to carry the club by holding opponents to a meager 89.4 PPG on 39.0% FG during the playoffs. SF Paul George (21.9 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 4.5 APG, 2.3 SPG in playoffs) shot very well in the first round of the playoffs (46% FG, 40% threes), but he has made just 33% FG and 25% threes versus the Wizards this series. However, he was the only player for either team to eclipse 16 points on Friday, pouring in 23 points (6-of-15 FG, 2-of-4 threes, 9-of-10 FG) with eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and a +21 rating. C Roy Hibbert (7.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 1.6 BPG in playoffs) began this series with a Game 1 dud (0 points, 0 rebounds, minus-17 rating), but has been much better in the past two games with 21.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG, 2.5 BPG and +31 rating. He was also vital to helping hold the Wizards starting frontcourt to a combined 24 points on 9-of-29 FG in Game 3. PF David West (13.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 4.2 APG, 1.3 BPG in playoffs) continues to give his team consistent production in all areas, and has posted a stellar +48 rating in this series, including a +27 on Friday when he scored 12 points with four assists, but only three rebounds. PG George Hill (13.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.7 APG in playoffs) didn't score as much in Game 3 (9 points), as he did in the first two games of the series (16.0 PPG). But he took only six shots, going 3-of-5 from three-point range and dishing out five assists to contribute to a +23 rating. SG Lance Stephenson (14.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.3 APG in playoffs) had another poor shooting night on Wednesday (4-of-13 FG), and is now 11-of-38 FG (29%) in this series. However, he's contributing in other areas with 6.7 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.4 SPG and a +38 rating. PF Luis Scola (7.7 PPG on 46% FG in playoffs) was the only Game 3 reserve for either team with at least five points, as he contributed 11 points (4-of-8 FG) in just 15 minutes off the bench.
The Wizards have shot just 43.9% on two-point FG tries and 66.7% FT in the postseason, including a horrendous 16-of-33 FT in the past two losses. They have also misfired from long range (9-of-37 threes) during the two-game skid, but are still knocking down 37.3% three-pointers during the playoffs. This strong long-range shooting is a product of great teamwork, with the club dishing out 19.4 APG and turning the ball over only 12.1 times per game. Washington's team defense has also been excellent in the playoffs, where it has limited opponents to just 89.6 PPG on 42.3% FG, while also compiling 7.4 SPG and 6.1 BPG. SG Bradley Beal (19.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 4.6 APG, 1.6 SPG in playoffs) opened this series on fire, scoring 21.0 PPG on 15-of-33 FG (46%) in the first two games, but made just 6-of-19 FG (1-of-5 threes) with just three boards, two assists and two turnovers in the Game 3 loss. Backcourt mate PG John Wall (16.0 PPG, 7.1 APG, 4.1 RPG, 1.8 SPG in playoffs) had done an excellent job of controlling the offense with 17 assists and only two turnovers in the first two games, but he committed seven turnovers with just six assists on Friday. But after shooting horribly in the two road games in this series (6-for-27 FG, 22%), Wall hit 6-of-13 FG in Game 3. SF Trevor Ariza (14.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 1.5 SPG in playoffs) had a nice bounce-back performance from a dismal Game 2 (6 points on 2-of-8 FG) with 12 points (4-of-8 FG), 15 rebounds and three steals in Game 3. The rest of Washington's frontcourt underachieved though, as C Marcin Gortat (11.4 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 1.6 BPG in playoffs) and PF Nene Hilario (15.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.1 BPG in playoffs) combined for only 12 points (5-of-21 FG) and 13 rebounds, which was a huge drop-off from their 35 points (17-of-29 FG) and 16 boards in Game 2. No Wizards reserve contributed more than three points or six rebounds on Friday, as the bench combined for only eight points on 3-of-12 shooting with a minus-19 rating.