Regardless of how John Wall and Bradley Beal struggle in this series with the Indiana Pacers, the bellwether of how the Wizards perform -- or win -- depends on their post players. Marcin Gortat and Nene haven't been factors in the last two games, both losses, heading into Game 5 Tuesday trailing 3-1.
Gortat has been practically invisible. He only played 21 minutes and was 1-for-3 for two points and grabbed three rebounds in Sunday's 95-92 loss. Gortat didn't play in the fourth quarter with coach Randy Wittman opting to spread the floor with with Drew Gooden who shared the floor with Nene.
Nene only shot 5-for-14 for 10 points, failed to score in the fourth quarter and only totaled three rebounds.
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In Friday's 85-63 loss in Game 3 to the Pacers, the Wizards' bigs didn't perform there either. Gortat only had four points on 2-for-7 shooting and 10 rebounds in 30 minutes. Nene shot 3-for-14 for just eight points and three rebounds in that outing.
On the flip side, Indiana's David West and Roy Hibbert weren't spectacular by any means but got the better end of their matchups. They combined to shoot 12-for-23 for 26 points in Game 3. In Game 4, they combined for 31 points on 11-for-24 shooting. West also had a playoff career-high eight assists. Hibbert pulled down nine rebounds.
West has feasted on the mid-range jump shot and when Hibbert is engaged the Pacers are a different. They trailed 55-38 at halftime of Game 4 with Hibbert only scoring two points. But he combined with Paul George to score 18 consecutive points for Indiana during one stretch to bring them from behind.
While Nene has stayed around after the last two games to face the questioning, Gortat has been missing. He has been gone from the locker room.
Nene appears so fixated on the lack of foul calls down the stretch, though he wouldn't voice that directly in his comments, that it has been a distraction for him on the court.
"We don't need to change. We've been playing hard. We give our best," Nene said. "We're doing our best."