In Game 4, it was 33-17. In Game 3, 26-12. In Game 2, 25-19. What about Game 1, the Wizards' only victory in this series vs. the Indiana Pacers? Try 19-13. Add up the difference and that's a 42-point deficit in third quarters, a troubling trend that has carried over from the regular season.
With a 55-38 lead at halftime and the Wizards seemingly on their way to tying this series at 2 at Verizon Center, they were a no-show late in the third quarter. Overall, they were outrebounded 14-6, giving up five on the offensive end. John Wall, the All-Star point guard, failed to register a point as he missed all three shot attempts. They had four turnovers. And to make matters worse, the Pacers made 12 of 21 shots, or 57%, led by 13 from Paul George and nine from Roy Hibbert who had just two at halftime.
"They've outscored us every game this series in the third quarter and we know we had a lead and it was never safe," Wall said. "In that third quarter they found a way to outscore us."
Actually, the third began well for Washington. Nene made a jump shot. Then it was Trevor Ariza. Bradley Beal's three-pointer pushed the lead to 62-44. It stayed around 15 points until the midway point. That's when the wheels came off the wagon.
Marcin Gortat had his shot blocked by Hibbert as he rolled to the basket. There were consecutive turnovers by Wall and Ariza. Hibbert blocked a shot by Andre Miller. Miller was called for traveling.
On the flip side, the Pacers ended the quarter shooting 7-for-7 and trimmed the deficit to 72-71 entering the fourth quarter where George scored 15 of his 39 points.
"That's been us all year," said Al Harrington of the third-quarter struggles. "At this time of the year you can't afford that, especially against a good team. They are an elite team. They were No. 1 in our conference."