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Gortat, Wall lead Wizards in rout of Pacers
Indianapolis, IN (SportsNetwork.com) - Sometimes a desperate team in the playoffs is a dangerous one.
Just ask the Indiana Pacers.
Marcin Gortat and John Wall were simply sensational Tuesday in leading the Washington Wizards to a 102-79 annihilation of the Pacers in a must-win Game 5 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Gortat recorded a double-double by halftime and finished with 31 points and 16 rebounds, and Wall scored 17 of his 27 points in a third quarter that saw the Wizards build a commanding 24-point lead.
The Wizards improved to 5-1 on the road in the postseason thanks to an incredible 62-23 advantage on the glass. They nearly had more offensive boards (18) than Indiana's rebounding total.
Indiana shot just 39.0 percent from the floor, with Paul George following up his 39-point Game 4 performance with a 15-point dud on 5-of-15 shooting.
Roy Hibbert regressed to the tune of four points and two rebounds, while David West led the club with 17 points in an otherwise forgettable showing by the East's No. 1 seed.
"The Wizards played a sensational basketball game. Clearly we did not match their desperation or physicality," Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said. "Give them all the credit."
Indiana's three consecutive wins that put the Wizards' backs against the wall are suddenly an afterthought as this Eastern Conference semifinal series shifts back to Washington for Game 6 on Thursday.
Gortat, who totaled six points over the previous two games, netted 17 on 8- of-10 shooting in the first half alone and added 11 rebounds, six on the offensive glass.
"We made a conscious effort to get the ball inside more than we did in Game 4," Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said. "(Gortat) played outstanding."
Despite Gortat's efforts, the Pacers were still within striking distance at 45-40 after West opened the second half with a turnaround jumper.
The third quarter had gone Indiana's way the previous four games, but Wall made sure the momentum swung towards Washington's side.
The All-Star guard answered West's jumper with an 18-footer and fed Trevor Ariza for an easy dunk with a nifty bounce pass to ignite a quick 11-3 run.
Wall added his second and third 3-pointer of the quarter in the final minute to extend the lead even further, then capped the one-sided frame with a pair of free throws for a staggering 76-52 Washington lead.
"I was just locked in," Wall said. "Just tried to come out and play my best game."
Wall shot 6-of-8 overall in the quarter, while the Pacers went 5-of-17 from the field in getting outscored 31-14 and showing little signs of life.
Indiana, which rallied from 19 back in the second half on Sunday, kept its starters on the floor for the opening stages of the fourth quarter but gained little headway as the game was too far out of reach.
Gortat's 11 first-quarter points led the way to a 25-19 Wizards lead, though the visitors went the first 4:54 of the second without hitting a field goal.
The Pacers scored 10 of the first 11 points to jump in front, but they were not ahead for very long.
After C.J. Watson's 3-pointer gave Indiana a 32-28 advantage, the Wizards answered with a 17-3 run. Gortat accounted for six points during the surge, which Bradley Beal capped with a 3-pointer to give the visitors a 45-35 lead.
West drained a corner 3 to end the half and pull Indiana within seven.
Beal scored 18 points for the Wizards, who received a 10-point, 10-rebound performance from Ariza ... Hibbert had averaged 19.6 points and 7.6 rebounds the previous three games ... Washington shot 50.0 percent from the floor.
05/13 23:58:04 ET
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