The most popular word used to describe Game 3 by both the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers was ugly. For the victorious Pacers, as Paul George noted afterward, “That’s our style of basketball.” For the Wizards, as Nene said, “It was terrible.” So much so that the Wizards set a franchise record for fewest points in a game during Friday’s 85-63 loss, which left the Wizards trailing two games to one entering Sunday’s Game 4 in their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series.
Here are some other numbers to digest from Friday’s contest:
Field goal attempts by the Wizards, 10 more than the number of points they scored. Add in the free throws and Washington attempted 94 total shots and missed 59 of them. No matter how good a team is, it’s nearly impossible to win a game in which its players shoot 32.9 percent from the field and make just 24 field goals, a playoff franchise low for the Wizards. For some perspective, when Michael Jordan scored 63 points on his own against the Celtics in 1986, he went 22 for 41 from the field and 19 for 21 from the free-throw line. And when Gilbert Arenas scored a franchise-record 60 points for the Wizards against the Lakers in 2006, he hit 17 of his 32 field-goal attempts and went 21 for 27 from the charity stripe.
Games in which the Pacers have held the Wizards below 70 points this season. On January 10, Indiana beat Washington, 93-66, with the Wizards again shooting 32 percent from the field and a ghastly 9 for 23 from the free throw line. Much of the problem in that game and in Friday’s 63-point outing was the pace. “I didn’t feel comfortable because they were slowing the ball down,” Bradley Beal said. “I don’t even know what the final score was. I don’t even know how many points we had. But it didn’t even feel like it was a fast-paced game at all.”
Points scored by the Pacers off of Washington’s 18 turnovers. The uneven flow of Friday’s game led to several one-man fast breaks as John Wall attempted to push the tempo off of rebounds, only to often be left alone in transition after his teammates failed to run with him. Wall’s seven turnovers on Friday were more than he’s had (six) over the last five games.
3 for 26
Shooting performance by the Wizards on contested shots, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Most of those attempts came outside the paint, as the Wizards scored the same amount of points (26) in the interior as they did from the outside. Beal (6 for 19) struggled to find his stroke, Nene (3 for 14) lost his touch from mid-range and Marcin Gortat (2 for 7) missed several close looks at the basket. The question is, was it a matter of the Pacers’ sound defense or did the Wizards just fall victim to an off shooting night?
Beal: “I think sometimes we felt as though we were so down, we just had to jack up stuff. Me included, I was taking some bad shots, too. So we’ve got to get back to our style and our game. We let them affect us too much. We’ve got to let them play our style of basketball.”
Wizards Coach Randy Wittman: “Lot of those shots, if you tell me I’m going to get those shots, I’ll take them. I have confidence in our guys, we’ve proven it all year and we proved it in Game 1 and throughout the Chicago series, we got guys that can knock it down. We’ve just got to stay aggressive with our confidence in that.”
What’s your take?