- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Wizards had to travel west to play the Pacers in Indiana. Unfortunately, their game went south.

The Pacers pounced on the Wizards from the opening tip on the way to a blowout win, 136-112. The Wizards never led in this game, and were down by as many as 29 points on their way to the 24-point loss.

To their credit, the Pacers had a lot riding on the win – a chance to secure the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The win, combined with a loss by the Charlotte Bobcats, punched the Pacers ticket to the postseason, their first since 2006.

The Wizards are now 21-57, and drop to 3-36 on the road.

Jordan Crawford continued to shine, scoring 29 points and going 10 of 10 from the free throw line. Backcourt mate John Wall scored 19 points, and Andray Blatche scored 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

“We committed way too many fouls.  They scored something like 43 points in the first quarter and you are not going to win many games when that happens,” Crawford said.

“All the fouls took away our aggressiveness and I think it sort of got into our heads and it carried over with us throughout the whole game.  We weren’t tired.  That’s not an excuse.  It’s simple, the first quarter killed us,” Crawford said.

The Wizards gave up a season high 75 points in the first half, and were outshot by the Pacers 59 percent to 46 percent for the game. The Pacers also dished out 32 assists to the Wizards 10.

“[Lack of] energy caught up to us tonight. We just didn’t have that pep in our step,” said Wizards coach Flip Saunders.
 
“We lost the game in the first six or seven minutes. We allowed them to get into too much of a comfort zone. We played very selfish tonight; we didn’t move the ball, didn’t play as a team. I thought our NBDL all-stars were the best team we had on the floor tonight,” Saunders said.

The NBDL all-stars Saunders referred to are Othyus Jeffers and Larry Owens, both of whom the Wizards signed for the remainder of the season. Jeffers scored 13 points and played 33 minutes; Owens scored nine points and played 17 minutes.

Down to nine healthy bodies, the Wizards waived swingman Cartier Martin, who was out for the season with a stress fracture, in order to make room to sign Owens from the D-League’s Tulsa 66ers.  

Jeffers has been with the Wizards since March 17 when he was signed to the first of two 10-day contracts. Jeffers was signed from the D-League’s Iowa Energy, and has now appeared in 12 games for the Wizards.

Conseco Fieldhouse has been a tough place for the Wizards; they have lost the last seven games in a row to the Pacers on the road.

But the Wizards road will get even tougher, as they head to Boston to face the Celtics on Friday.

Postgame quotes courtesy of the Indiana Pacers Media Relations Department.