NBA

Indiana Pacers vs. Washington Wizards: Game 4 Grades and Analysis

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 11: Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers dribbles the ball against the Washington Wizards during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals on May 11, 2014 at the Verizon Center, in Washington DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistMay 12, 2014

The Indiana Pacers are finally starting to look like a No. 1 seed, as Sunday's 95-92 come-from-behind win over the Washington Wizards gave them a 3-1 series lead.

Paul George carried the Pacers offense, as he scored 39 points on 12-of-20 shooting. He also dominated the boards, with a game-high 12 rebounds.

Roy Hibbert continued his resurgence, scoring 17 points and grabbing nine rebounds. His huge third quarter turned the tide in a game that the Wizards once led by 19 points.

Washington was led by Bradley Beal, who scored 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. His backcourt mate John Wall struggled, scoring just 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting and turning the ball over five times.

 

Key Player Grades: Indiana Pacers

Paul George, Small Forward/Shooting Guard

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Paul George #24 of the Indiana Pacers handles the ball against the Washington Wizards in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Verizon Center on May 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

With the chance to take a commanding 3-1 lead with the series on the line, George played like a legitimate superstar, scoring 28 of his 39 points in the second half.

He got his buckets from all over the floor, knocking down threes, getting to the rim and even hitting a few mid-range jumpers.

He had some issues on the other end, though, struggling to defend Washington's budding superstar Beal, as well as Trevor Ariza. But it wasn't too big of a deal, as he was cleaning up the defensive boards.

Grade: A+

 

David West, Power Forward

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 11: David West #21 of the Indiana Pacers looks to pass the ball against the Washington Wizards during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals on May 11, 2014 at the Verizon Center, in Washington DC. NOTE TO USER: User expres
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

West has seemed like the one constant for the Pacers over these tumultuous past few months, and he was as steady as ever Sunday.

He scored 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting and did an excellent job of passing out of the post on the way to eight assists.

Grade: B+

 

Lance Stephenson, Shooting Guard

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 9: Lance Stephenson #1 of the Indiana Pacers shoots against John Wall #2 and Marcin Gortat #4 of the Washington Wizards in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 9, 20
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Stephenson wasn't his typically excitable self in Game 4, which may have actually been a good thing, as he was generally deferring to George.

As is often the case, he influenced the game in other ways. He finished the game with just eight points on 3-of-8 shooting but grabbed nine rebounds and dished out six assists.

He also spent some time on Beal and struggled as bad as, if not worse than, George.

Grade: B-

 

George Hill, Point Guard

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: George Hill #3 of the Indiana Pacers handles the ball against the Washington Wizards in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Verizon Center on May 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Hill was much more aggressive as a scorer than usual, as he put up 12 shots, compared to the 8.1 he averaged in the regular season. Sunday, he made six and scored 15 points.

Where he was really critical was on defense, though. Hill's made this series a nightmare for Washington's typically electrifying John Wall.

His length and quick hands were the instruments of disruption that were the main cause of Wall's five turnovers.

They also contributed to Wall's tough 4-of-11 shooting performance.

Grade: B

 

Roy Hibbert, Center

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 11: Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers shoots the ball against the Washington Wizards during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals on May 11, 2014 at the Verizon Center, in Washington DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly ac
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

He was pretty docile in the first half, but the Pacers got the recently resurrected Hibbert during the third. His big quarter helped bring Indiana back into a game that appeared to be heading toward being a blowout.

If he continues to play this kind of inspired basketball on both ends of the floor, the Pacers could once again have a shot to knock off the Miami Heat.

Grade: A

 

C.J. Watson, Point Guard

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Evan Turner #12 of the Indiana Pacers handles the ball against the Washington Wizards in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Verizon Center on May 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Coach Frank Vogel leaned heavily on his starters, as the reserve who played the most minutes only logged 11. That role went to Watson Sunday, and he struggled in it.

He went just 1-of-4 from the field on the way to his two points and was unable to provide any kind of a spark off the bench.

Grade: F

 

Bench

As bad as Watson was, the rest of the second unit was even worse. Evan Turner, Luis Scola and Ian Mahinmi combined to shoot 0-of-5 from the field for zero points.

None of them were able to positively impact the game in any way, forcing Vogel to play each of the first five at least 37 minutes (three went for 41 or more).

Grade: F

 

Key Player Grades: Washington Wizards

John Wall, Point Guard

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards during the game against the Indiana Pacers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Verizon Center on May 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Wall has struggled with his shot throughout the postseason, but it was ball security that really plagued him on Sunday.

On several drives, the typically solid-with-the-ball Wall looked out of control from the get-go and wound up with five turnovers.

He offset all of the giveaways to some extent with seven assists, but Wall has to be much smarter with the ball if Washington is going to have a chance to make a real run beyond Sunday.

He also needs to be a bit more aggressive as a scorer. Yes, he's missing shots right now, but he's getting in the lane and passing on scoring opportunities too often. In Game 4, he had just 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting.

Grade: C-

 

Bradley Beal, Shooting Guard

INDIANAPOLIS, IND - MAY 9: Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards shoots the ball against the Indiana Pacers in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 9, 2014 in Washington, DC.  NOTE
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Beal was a huge part of the Wizards jumping out to a big lead in the first half. His sweet shooting stroke and ability to get to the rim make him a complete scorer and a difficult assignment, even for an excellent defender like George.

He disappeared a bit in the second half as the Pacers charged back, but they never would've been in position to win in the first place without him.

With Wall struggling to be consistent offensively, Washington may need more aggression from Beal in Game 5.

Grade: A-

 

Nene, Power Forward/Center

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 11: Nene Hilario #42 of the Washington Wizards walks onto the court against the Indiana Pacers during Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals on May 11, 2014 at the Verizon Center, in Washington DC. NOTE TO USER: User expres
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Nene, who torched Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah in the first round, could not figure out the Pacers defense on Sunday.

He shot just 5-of-14 from the field on the way to 10 points and couldn't counter the physical defense of West and Hibbert around the rim.

Grade: C-

 

Marcin Gortat, Center

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Marcin Gortat #4 of the Washington Wizards handles the ball against the Indiana Pacers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Indiana Pacers at Verizon Center on May 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER:
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

Like Nene, Gortat had a terrible time trying to do anything against Indiana's front line. He was so ineffective that coach Randy Wittman played both Drew Gooden and Al Harrington more minutes than him. 

He finished the game shooting just 1-of-3 from the field for two points and three rebounds in 21 minutes.

Grade: F

 

Trevor Ariza, Small Forward

May 11, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards small forward Trevor Ariza (1) dribbles as Indiana Pacers shooting guard Lance Stephenson (1) defends during the first half in game four of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center.
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If West has been the constant for the Pacers in the playoffs, Ariza's been that guy for the Wizards.

His steady play continued Sunday, as he scored 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting to go with a team-high nine rebounds.

Where he struggled was on defense against George, who lit the Wizards up.

Grade: B+

 

Drew Gooden, Power Forward/Center

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Martell Webster #9 of the Washington Wizards dunks against the Indiana Pacers in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Verizon Center on May 11, 2014 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: Us
Ned Dishman/Getty Images

With Gortat struggling, Wittman went to the veteran reserve Gooden, who was solid as a rock. He shot 5-of-10 from the field on the way to five points.

Not many people expected him to do much when he was signed as a free agent in the second half of the season, but he's been a very pleasant surprise.

Grade: B

 

Bench

Washington's second unit played with more energy than the starters throughout the game. They were at the head of the charge that established a big lead in the first half and appeared to have an answer for Indiana's late run at one point.

Ultimately, Wittman went back to the majority of the starters, and the energy the bench provided couldn't be sustained.

Al Harrington shot 4-of-7 from the field for 11 points and grabbed six rebounds. Martell Webster and Andre Miller combined for 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting. 

Grade: A-

 

What's Next?

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: Drew Gooden #90 of the Washington Wizards blocks a shot by Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers as Nene Hilario #42 of the Washington Wizards looks on during the first half of Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Pacers locked in defensively in the second half, and things changed dramatically. If they bring that kind of intensity and effort in the next one, this series will be over.

The Wizards need sustained energy to avoid that. Not just from the bench, but the starters as well.

Game 5 is set for Tuesday, May 13, at 7 p.m. ET.

 

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.

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