Pacers respond again, beat Wizards to advance to East Finals

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WASHINGTON D.C. – Adjectives will be tossed around yet again in the positive for an NBA Playoff team that will take is unusual ride to another level.

Once again, the worst brought out the best in the Pacers.

After a eye-opening 23 point loss to the Wizards on Tuesday night in Game 5 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in a potential close-out game, the Pacers once again bounced back on the road to beat the Washington 93-80 at the Verizon Center Thursday night.

With the victory, Indiana closes out their Eastern Conference Semifinal series with a 4-2 victory and now has what it set out for all season long: An Eastern Conference Finals rematch with the Heat with the road to the NBA Finals starting in Indianapolis. Game 1 against Miami will be Sunday at 3:30 P.M.

David West helped the Pacers get there with a game-high 29 points which helped the team jump to as much as a 16-point lead in the second half before the Wizards rallied to take the lead in the fourth quarter. But a 20-6 run finally buried the Wizards and set Indiana back to the conference finals for a second straight season.

Lance Stephenson added 17 points to the effort while the other starters were also in double figures. Marcin Gortat had a team-high 19 points for the Wizards and six rebounds as the Pacers flipped the script from Game 5 and beat Washington on the boards 33-31.

Indiana made sure there would be no repeat of their previous effort against the Wizards as they controlled the tempo for most of the first half. West started fast by scoring nine of the Pacers’ 13 points as Indiana opened a six-point lead after one quarter. The Pacers would open up as much as a 15-point lead in the second quarter before Washington cut it to 12 before the break.

West opened it up to 16 points early in the second half with a jumper but after that the Wizards slowly began to chip away at the Pacers’ advantage. They had it down to eight as they entered the fourth quarter and then the Wizards made their move, grabbing the lead with 8:30 left on a three-pointer by Bradley Beal.

But the Pacers had one last run left in them. With the starters in the Pacers went on a 17-2 over the next eight minutes to finally put the Wizards away and set up the main event for the Eastern Conference Finals.

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