(The Sports Xchange) - May 9 (The Sports Xchange) - The Indiana Pacers acknowledged the unsightly nature of their latest win against the Washington Wizards, but All-Star forward Paul George will be happy if the remainder of the series continues in a similar slogging manner.
The Pacers held the Wizards to 30 points in the second half, pulling away to win 85-63 on Friday and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-finals.
“This was probably the ugliest game of the post-season thus far,” George, who scored 23 points, said after Indiana held Washington to its fewest points in franchise history.
“This is our style of basketball. Every now and then this team is fortunate to get hot offensively, but what we do is play defense.”
Center Roy Hibbert added 14 points for the top-seeded Pacers, who began taking control with a second-quarter run and outscored the Wizards 26-12 in the third quarter.
The NBA’s biggest curiosity because of their inexplicable laboring in recent weeks, the Pacers have won two straight in the best-of-seven series.
Indiana led 34-33 at halftime thanks to a 13-1 spurt late in the second quarter. After the Wizards briefly pulled ahead at 37-36, Indiana ripped off 12 straight points starting with guard George Hill’s three-pointer.
The run ballooned to 23-7 as the Pacers’ staunch defense stymied Washington from all angles.
“I didn’t feel comfortable playing in that because they were slowing the ball down a little bit,” said guard Bradley Beal.
The 20-year-old led the Wizards with 16 points, but finished 6-for-19 from the field.
Power forward Nene missed 11 of 14 attempts as Washington shot 32.9 percent from the field.
“We had the worst offensive night,” Nene said. “It looked like we tried to miss shots.”
Washington’s two lowest scoring games of the regular season came against Indiana. Inability to push the pace certainly played a factor. Both teams scored eight fast-break points, a statistic that favored the grinding Pacers.
Reporting by Andrew Both. Editing by Patrick Johnston