Vogel’s reply, offered with a smile: “Probably somewhere in the middle of Game 1 and Game 2.”
Turned out to be exactly right.
“In the past two games,” George said about the All-Star center, “he’s been great at just defending our basket.”
“I’m 6-3, 6-4. He’s 7-2,” Beal said. “So you do the math.”
John Wall, Washington’s point guard, had five turnovers in his previous four games, but he had seven Friday, to go along with 15 points and six assists. Trevor Ariza had 12 points, but zero in the second half. Marcin Gortat scored four points one game after having 21. And Nene had eight points on 3-of-14 shooting and only three rebounds.
“John’s got to go out and play aggressive,” Wittman said. “I thought he had some indecision in transition — ‘Do I go? Do I don’t go?’ — which gets you caught up in the air and some turnovers that way.”
Washington’s woes shouldn’t have been too surprising, given that the Pacers ranked No. 2 in the 30-team NBA in team defense during the regular season, allowing only 92.3 points per game. Not only that, but Washington’s two lowest-scoring games all season — 66 points in one, 73 in the other — came in losses to Indiana.
And now that version of the Pacers might be back.
“It feels like it,” George said. “Gradually, we’re taking baby steps.”
NOTES: Pacers F Luis Scola was called for a technical foul for shoving Martell Webster in the back as the ball went out of bounds early in the second quarter. … NBA Commissioner Adam Silver attended the game.