Despite allowing a 22-point lead to evaporate in the fourth quarter, the Washington Wizards still had a chance to force overtime, or even win, on Thursday night against the Indiana Pacers.
His team down two points, John Wall had the ball with nine seconds left on a play that called for the point guard to locate Jordan Crawford coming off a screen. Wall said he didn’t see Crawford open, though, so he went to the basket on his own, releasing the shot after the buzzer.
As it fell through, fans at Verizon Center began to cheer, but that joy sooned turned to disappointment when officials waved off the basket, leaving the Wizards on the short end, 85-83.
“I tried to create something, but there wasn’t enough spacing for me to create,” said Wall, who finished with 16 points and nine assists. “I really didn’t know if I beat the buzzer when I finally released my shot. I didn’t think I had that much time.”
Circumstances had reached that point because the Wizards suffered their largest blown lead of the season in falling for the third time in four games. After the Pacers took their first lead of the game on Paul George’s three-pointer with 1 minute 1 second to play, Washington had multiple chances to gain possession, except the Pacers collected four offensive rebounds in the last minute before the Wizards finally got the ball.
The Wizards tried mightily to ensure the game wouldn’t to come down to the final seconds, several times blunting earlier bids by Indiana to take the lead. After the Pacers cut it to 71-70 in the third quarter, rookie forward Chris Singleton sank a three-pointer off a feed from Crawford.
Singleton then stole the ball on the other end and tipped it out to Crawford, who fed Wall for a dunk that gave Washington a 76-71 cushion and prompted Pacers Coach Frank Vogel to call timeout with 6:03 to play.
Indiana got it down to 76-73 moments later, but Singleton answered with a three-point play. The Pacers kept at it, though, and finally broke through with a seven points in a row to take a that they wouldn’t relinquish.
“We couldn’t get a rebound,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said of the final minute. “Indiana got three or four offensive rebounds, and we lost the inbound pass, but we still had a chance to tie at the end of the game. It just didn’t got our way.”
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