The Indiana Pacers were facing a very big Game 2 tonight against the Washington Wizards, and they came through when they needed to the most. They have been having a very rough past few months, but there have also been signs of life within the organization in big games. Tonight was as close to a must-win scenario as a team can get in the playoffs, and they showed flashes of the team that held the best record in the NBA for the majority of the early part of the season.
Roy Hibbert came through with a huge game for the Pacers, and gave Indiana fans a reason to cheer him on for a change. He has been an absolute mess in the playoffs, but he put everything together and was very dominant in the post. His defense was also a pleasant sight for the Pacers, and his demeanor provided great energy to the starting lineup.
Despite struggles from Paul George, Lance Stephenson, and David West, the Pacers were able to pull things together in the second half and close out a win. Stephenson and George especially came up clutch down the stretch, and West hit a pair of big free throws to put the game away at the end. It certainly bodes well for the Pacers that they were able to scrape together a win despite three of their best players having major issues.
The Wizards were led by Marcin Gortat, who put together a solid double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds. He showed a nice arsenal of post up and mid-range offense, and also crashed the boards effectively. Indiana was able to hold point guard John Wall in check, allowing him to score just six points on 2-13 shooting, while Bradley Beal cooled off a bit with just 17 points. Trevor Ariza was also held in check, scoring just six points on 2-8 shooting. \
Overall, this was a very strong showing for the Pacers and it was very encouraging to the team. Hibbert’s resurgence seemed to give Indiana the spark that they needed, and hopefully it was enough to break him out of his recent slump. The Pacers will head into Washington on Friday night and look to re-take home court advantage in the series.
Evan Massey is a Staff Writer for Hoops-Nation.com. Follow Evan on Twitter at @Massey_Evan.