Bradley Beal scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Trevor Ariza added 22 and the Washington Wizards remained undefeated on the road in this postseason, topping the Indiana Pacers, 102-96, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Monday night and taking a 1-0 lead in their second-round playoff series.
The Wizards, who are now 4-0 away from home in this postseason, led by as many as 16 points in this game, staving off numerous Pacers runs throughout the contest.
Indiana went on a 10-0 run between the third and fourth quarters to trim a 16-point deficit to six, but Washington responded in kind, going back up by 14 to close it out.
Vogel felt they didn’t play with enough punch, and certainly lost the physicality battle. Beal was the difference after pulling within six.— Scott Agness (@ScottAgness) May 6, 2014
The Wizards out-rebounded the Pacers 53-36, grabbing 17 offensive rebounds. They also held Indiana to 40.7 percent shooting, allowing only 20 points in the paint.
Washington shot only 41.7 percent from the floor, but it made 10 three-pointers, six of them coming from Ariza.
The Wizards also got a double-double from Marcin Gortat, who posted 12 points and 15 boards.
Paul George and George Hill were the high-point men for the Pacers with 18 apiece.
Game 2 is Wednesday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. ET.
Key Player Grades
John Wall, Point Guard
John Wall struggled from the floor in Game 1, going 4-of-14 and missing all five of his second-half field-goal attempts.
However, his impact was still fairly obvious.
Due to Wall's blinding quickness, he was able to get consistent dribble penetration to force the Pacers defense to collapse, resulting in open three-point shooters for the Wizards.
Because of that, Wall racked up nine assists, so despite him having only 13 points and not getting to the free-throw line until the one-minute, 24-second mark of the fourth quarter, he was still fairly effective.
All things considered, it would be nice to see Wall actually make some shots.
Nene, Power Forward
Nene wasn't all that spectacular Monday night, shooting 6-of-16 from the floor and missing some good looks in the mid-range game.
That isn't to say Nene was terrible, though, as the Brazilian big man was still able to post 15 points and six rebounds in 32 minutes.
Nene actually did his best work when being defended by Roy Hibbert, as Nene was able to utilize his quickness advantage against the lumbering Pacers center.
I expect better performances from Nene going forward in this series.
Bradley Beal, Shooting Guard
Bradley Beal was a monster down the stretch.
The second-year 2-guard scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, making a backbreaking three-pointer to put Washington up 12 with 6:19 to go.
Bradley Beal is the first player in NBA history to have 3 playoff games with at least 25 pts before his 21st birthday #wizards— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) May 6, 2014
Beal shot 8-of-18 from the floor and made three of his five long-range tries, but he did much more than just score the basketball.
The Florida product also added seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals in 43 minutes.
Just an outstanding all-around game for the 20-year-old.
Marcin Gortat, Center
You have to love Marcin Gortat's toughness, and it may end up being the difference in this series.
Gortat scored 12 points and only shot 4-of-12 from the field, forcing up some tough shots in traffic, but he certainly left his fingerprints on this game in other facets.
The Polish Hammer pulled down 15 rebounds, six of those coming on the offensive end. He also blocked three shots and served as a deterrent to Pacers slashers in this contest.
Gortat thoroughly dominated his matchup with Hibbert, and if he continues to do so in this fashion, this series could be over quicker than we thought.
Trevor Ariza, Small Forward
Trevor Ariza was absolutely on fire in this one.
The 2009 NBA champion made all six of his three-point attempts, three of those coming in the first quarter alone.
Ariza ended up scoring 22 points off 7-of-10 shooting overall. He also grabbed six rebounds.
Ariza's playoff experience and battle-tested mettle has been paying huge dividends for Washington all postseason, and it continued in Game 1.
Martell Webster, Sixth Man
Martell Webster was very quiet in this one, taking only one shot and misfiring.
He did do an adequate job on Paul George during his 16 minutes of action, using his length to bother George on the perimeter, but Webster still posted only a minus-11.
Not a very impressive outing by Webster.
Drew Gooden was the only reserve who did much of anything for the Wizards in Game 1.
The journeyman posted 12 points and 13 rebounds in 16 minutes, bringing great energy off the pine. He was able to make some mid-range shots and was also a force on the offensive glass, with four of his boards coming on that end of the floor. Gooden had a huge tip-in with about six-and-a-half minutes to go.
Andre Miller scored three points off a lone three-pointer in eight minutes, but that was the only other contribution from the Wizards bench.
Trevor Booker played nine minutes, but he did nothing.
Gooden saves the pine from earning a poor mark.
Paul George, Small Forward
Paul George put forth a miserable effort Monday night, making only four of his 17 shot attempts and going 1-of-5 from three-point range.
George did go 9-of-9 from the free-throw line to help him get to 18 points, but his shot selection was extremely questionable in this one.
The All-Star added six boards and five dimes, but the off shooting night was just a killer for Indiana.
George was also a minus-19.
Roy Hibbert, Center
If you thought Roy Hibbert's solid Game 7 performance against the Atlanta Hawks would bring him out of the doldrums, you were wrong.
Hibbert put up the kind of stat line Monday night that we have become all too familiar with in this postseason: zero points on two shots, zero rebounds and five fouls in 18 minutes.
Roy Hibbert will get his talent back from that Monstar any day now.— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) May 6, 2014
He also had some problems defending Nene, who was able to take him off the dribble and pull him away from the basket and knock down mid-range jumpers.
The Pacers could get by without Hibbert against the Hawks, but they absolutely, positively cannot beat the Wizards without consistent production from their big man.
David West, Power Forward
Credit David West for battling in the loss.
The big man registered 15 points and 12 rebounds, doing all he could to make up for yet another Hibbert no-show.
West was able to knock down some mid-range shots and hold Nene in check.
He only shot 6-of-15 from the floor, so he won't get an outstanding grade, but you have to appreciate the effort.
Lance Stephenson, Shooting Guard
For the most part, we saw the bad Lance Stephenson in this one.
Stephenson played recklessly and out of control at times, overdribbling and taking wild, awkward shots at the rim.
He went 4-of-13 from the floor, making only two of his nine two-point attempts.
Stephenson scored 12 points and hauled in six rebounds, committing four turnovers.
George Hill, Point Guard
George Hill was relatively nonexistent for most of Game 1. Then, he buried three triples inside the one-minute mark when the game was essentially already in hand.
So, where was that offense for the rest of the night?
The floor general scored 18 points off 6-of-11 shooting and dished out only one assist in 33 minutes.
By now, we should know that Hill is never going to be the type of player who dominates games, but is it too much to ask of him to actually run the offense effectively?
Evan Turner, Sixth Man
Evan Turner scored seven points off 2-of-4 shooting in this one, also adding two rebounds and two assists in 19 minutes.
His impact was minimal, though, as he was unable to spark the Pacers off the bench. Not that that's his fault, though, as Indiana's entire team was anemic in this game.
Luis Scola was probably the best player on the floor for the Pacers in Game 1.
The Argentinian scored 12 points off 6-of-11 shooting, also contributing five rebounds in 27 minutes. He was able to utilize his skill and finesse against the physical Washington bigs, certainly representing a more reliable frontcourt option than Hibbert. Scola was a plus-one in a double-digit loss, so that should tell you something about how good he was in this one.
C.J. Watson was also effective, scoring nine points in 15 minutes. He shot 3-of-5 from the floor and played a pivotal role in a second-quarter Indiana run.
Chris Copeland buried a three-pointer in garbage time, and Ian Mahinmi scored two points in 12 minutes.
So, the Pacers bench was actually solid. Too bad the starters couldn't follow suit.