Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel has a long memory when it comes to John Wall, and he has predicated his defense on stopping the Wizards’ point guard from picking them apart again.
Rewind to the end of the 2012-13 regular season, when the Pacers came to Verizon Center and were shredded by Wall’s 37 points on 16-for-25 shooting, five assists and just two turnovers.
He has never come close in the six meetings between these teams since then, including this second-round series going into Sunday’s Game 4 (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).
"Our guys are just running back and praying because it’s obviously a very tough assignment to stop him in the open court," Vogel said after an 85-63 victory at Verizon Center in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead. "Our guys made some spectacular plays in those open court situations, but you can just hope to limit him as much as possible, he’s so electric. You’ve just got to do your best.”
Wall was held to 15 points and had a playoff-high seven turnovers. The perimeter players are quickly running back for Indiana rather than crashing the offensive boards to protect the basket. The Wizards only had eight fast-break points.
This regular season, Wall was 17-for-50, or 34%, and averaged just 13.6 points. Add this with what he has done in the three postseason games and Wall is just 29-for-80, or 36%, for 12.5 points.
When the Wizards' shooters aren't able to knock down open shots that are created by the Pacers' attention to Wall, then winning for the Wizards is almost impossible.