Wizards blitz Pacers behind Gortat, Wall to force Game 6

Wizards blitz Pacers behind Gortat, Wall to force Game 6
May 13, 2014, 9:30 pm
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Two words from John Wall said it all as he buried his third three-pointer and held his pose in the third quarter of Game 5 vs. the Indiana Pacers: "I'm back."

After facing down questions about passing up an open shot that could've saved the Wizards in Game 4, Wall had answers by producing his best postseason performance with 27 points on 11-for-20 shooting, five rebounds and five assists in their second win in three tries at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Tuesday. 

Marcin Gortat, who had been invisible and only scored six points combined in the previous two games, was unstoppable with 31 points on 13-for-15 shooting and a game-high 16 rebounds. He manhandled his counterpart Roy Hibbert who was a non-factor with four points on 2-for-7 shooting and just two rebounds. 

Gortat, who had been invisible in the previous two games with just six points total, had a double-double at halftime with 17 points and 11 rebounds. 

Wall followed suit in his most aggressive play in the second half to put the game away. Despite having two of the Wizards' six first-quarter turnovers, Wall not only pushed the pace but didn't pass up open shots. He scored 17 of his points in the second half by making 6 of 8 shots, including 3 of 4 threes.

Bradley Beal had 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Trevor Ariza had 10 points. Nene had his third consecutive bad outing with just four points and was limited by early foul trouble. 

Paul George only had 15 points on 5-for-15 shooting after torching the Wizards for 39 in Game 4. 

Each time the Wizards have reached 100 points, they've won in this series. But they're 1-3 at Verizon Center in the postseason. 

Turning point: The Pacers went on a 10-0 run, punctuated by a three-pointer from George, to begin the second quarter to take their first lead since 1-0 at 27-25. But the Wizards quickly retaliated with a 9-0 run inspired by stiff defense from Gortat, Beal and Ariza that forced turnovers. 

Key stats: The Wizards had 12 turnovers and missed 9 of 10 three-pointers by halftime but somehow managed to have a 45-38 lead because of a 32-11 edge in rebounding. They finished the game up 63-32, including 18-4 on the offensive glass. 

From the locker room: "We did make a conscious effort to start the game, to get the ball inside more than we did in Game 4. So (Gortat) took it from there. He played outstanding. He was energized. ... You know we have to play at the fast pace and the pace tonight was fabulous." -- Wizards coach Randy Wittman 

"Someone texted me earlier today and told me to keep my head up. Coach Witt told me to go out there and be super-aggressive and he didn't care if I had 20 turnovers. I tried to do that. I also stayed locked in on defense and I thought that go my offense going." -- Wall 

"Nobody was happy with Game 4. Personally, for me it was one big hell. .... I was an offensive decoy in Games 3 and 4. Now it was my time to perform. I talked to John before the game and he looked for me more." -- Gortat

"We didn't show up to play. I don't know if we thought we were just going to come in here and these guys would roll over. They're a very good team, a team full of guys with a lot of pride. They just played at a different level than we did all night and it showed up on the glass." -- Pacers F David West 

"I give the Wizards all the credit. They played a sensational basketball game, outplaying us in most areas. Clearly, we didn't match their desperation and their physicality throughout the game and obviously it was costly. ... It's one loss whether you lose by 20-something or lose by one." -- Pacers coach Frank Vogel

Up next: The Wizards returned to D.C. immediately after the game, will practice Wednesday and play Game 5 at Verizon Center on Thursday (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET).