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Pacers continue their hot start at Wizards’ expense
INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George scored 23 points and Roy Hibbert added 13 and eight rebounds to lead the surging Indiana Pacers past the injury hampered Washington Wizards 93-73 on Friday night.
The Pacers won their sixth straight and extended their best start in franchise history to 15-1.
Lance Stephenson flirted with his third triple-double before departing late and had seven points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Indiana, which shot 44 percent and forced 18 turnovers while limiting Washington to 40 percent shooting.
The Wizards (7-9) trailed by as many as 25 in the fourth quarter and lost their 11th straight game in Indianapolis. Star point guard John Wall struggled badly, rarely attacked the rim and finished with eight points on 4-of-14 shooting.
Washington power forward Nene did not play due to a sore right Achilles tendon
Also missing were starting shooting guard Bradley Beal and prized rookie Otto Porter, the No. 3 pick in the draft.
The Pacers begin a five-game road trip against the Western Conference on Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers. Four of the five opponents are above .500 and the slate ends with games against Oklahoma City and reigning conference champ San Antonio.
The Wizards made their only push in the second quarter with George and Hibbert on the bench. They scored on 10 of their first 15 possessions and got as close as 38-34 when Trevor Booker hustled for an offensive rebound and made a layup.
Indiana allowed just two points over the final 4½ minutes of the half to take a 43-36 lead into the locker room.
As usual, the Pacers took control in the third quarter. They entered the game outscoring opponents by an average of 6.7 points in the third and followed that script once more by outscoring Washington 26-20 to carry a 69-56 lead to the fourth.
Hibbert scored 10 points in the third on 4-of-5 shooting after an 0-of-5 first half. Indiana shot 11-of-20 as a team in the third.
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