After enduring three demoralizing losses to the Indiana Pacers, the Washington Wizards came back with a vengeance Tuesday night to take Game 5 by the score of 102-79.
Marcin Gortat led the charge with a spellbinding 31 points and 16 rebounds to mark arguably the greatest game of his career. His 31 points tied his career high, while his 16 boards earned Gortat a new playoff career high. And, as if in response to recent criticisms regarding his subpar playoff performance as of late, John Wall added a commanding 27 points to Washington’s efforts.
That’s right – combined, Gortat and Wall accounted for more than two-thirds Indiana’s point total on the night.
Washington enjoyed a hot start as the duo combined for six points before fans saw three minutes of basketball.
But, while Gortat and Wall operated at their own pace for much of the night, the rest of the Wizards’ offense remained slow to awaken. Fortunately for Washington, hardly anyone was missed.
The Wizards went on to outscore the Pacers 25-19 in the first quarter.
In the second, Indiana’s Luis Scola helped narrow the point gap back-to-back shots and drawing a free basket. Paul George followed his efforts with a three pointer that briefly put the Pacers in front, 27-25, with 9:44 remaining in the half.
Shortly after the five-minute mark, however, the Gortat and Wall Show returned to syndication. Wall kicked things off with a game-tying jumper, before Gortat tipped the scales back in Washington’s favor. The center added four more points before halftime, to help the Wizards to a 45-38 lead.
And that was just the beginning.
In the third quarter, Gortat and Wall helped the Wizards outscore the Pacers 31-14, as well as maintain control by way of rebounds. The Wizards outrebounded Indiana 18-4 in the quarter and finished the quarter on a 10-3 run to make it 76-52 entering the final 12 minutes of play.
The Polish hammer continued his run with an early dunk fed by none other than Wall. As Wizards head coach Randy Wittman called his subs into play, Bradley Beal helped keep the momentum going, posting five quick points with nearly 10 minutes remaining to bring Washington to a 25-point lead.
Less than five minutes later, Nene’s 20-foot jumper pushed the Wizards to a 30-point lead over the Pacers. Indiana effectively shaved a few points, but there was no stopping the bleeding. With Garrett Temple’s late two-point shot, the Wizards reached their final 102-79 score.
By day’s end, the Wizards had outrebounded the Pacers by a whopping 62-to-23 difference.
With the win, the Wizards will look to tie the series at home for Game 6 on Thursday.