Wizards draw first blood against Pacers in playoffs

Mon May 5, 2014 11:44pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The youthful Washington Wizards showed no signs of wilting in the heat of the playoffs as they beat the top-seeded Indiana Pacers 102-96 in their Eastern Conference second round series opener on Monday.

Second-year guard Bradley Beal scored a team-high 25 points, Trevor Ariza made all six of his three-pointer attempts for 22 and the Wizards drew first blood on the road in the best-of-seven series.

Washington turned heads when they beat the Chicago Bulls in just five games in the first round of the post-season and are playing in the second round for the first time since 2005.

"We feel like we're capable of winning when we play our style of basketball," Ariza told reporters.

"We hadn't won (in Indiana) in a while, why wouldn't this be the best time to come in and get a win?"

The Pacers, needed the full seven games to survive and advance against eighth seed Atlanta in the opening round also held form after they, again suffered from inconsistency.

Paul George, who led the charge with 30 points in Indiana's Game Seven triumph Saturday, was off his game against the Wizards, scoring 18 points on 4-for-17 shooting.

George Hill also tallied 18 points for the Pacers but they could not catch up after Washington's hot start, the Wizards scoring the game's first eight points and leading 28-15 after the first quarter.

Washington, who stay in Indiana for Game Two on Wednesday, particularly pounded the Pacers inside where they won the rebound count 53-36.   Continued...

Apr 27, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) shoots the ball over Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) in the third quarter in game four of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports