INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers (30-25) were not at full strength on Monday night. It most definitely showed.
With starters Victor Oladipo (illness) and Darren Collison (arthroscopic left knee surgery, out two-three weeks) sidelined, Indy wasn’t up to par with the Washington WIzards (31-24).
Washington emerged with a 111-102 victory, expanding their lead over the Pacers in the Eastern Conference standings to two games. As of now, Indiana sits in the six spot and Washington has the coveted final homecourt positioning at fourth.
Indiana got off to another slow start, allowing the Wizards to burst out to a quick 10-2 lead. Washington maintained that lead throughout the frame, going into the second quarter up 28-23.
The Pacers actually went in front briefly in the second, scoring the first six points to lead 29-28. A Bojan Bogdanovic three-pointer put the home team ahead 34-33 with 8:46 remaining, but that would be Indy’s final time on top.
A 22-5 run did the trick for Washington and the Wizards never looked back. The Pacers did close the half with nine unanswered points, but Washington’s big second quarter outburst left them with a 58-49 advantage.
The Blue and Gold never truly threatened the Wizards in the second half.
Indy hung around early on in the third, but a 9-0 Washington run gave the visitors another comfortable edge. In the fourth quarter, the Pacers got as close as eight points, but the Wizards just wouldn’t budge. Washington coasted down the stretch for the nine-point victory.
With Oladipo and Collison unable to play, Bogdanovic picked up the slack on the offensive end. The Croatian led all scorers with a season-best 29 points, including five triples. Joe Young, who received more playing time in Collison’s absence, took advantage with 17 points. Young was also hot from downtown, sinking five of eight three-point attempts.
The Pacers weren’t alone in dealing with injury concerns. Washington was without star guard John Wall, who is also recovering from surgery on his left knee. Bradley Beal led the Wiz in scoring with 21, but it was a balanced attack for Washington. Eight Wizards scored in double figures.
Indiana will hit the road now, playing their next game in New Orleans on Wednesday. Tip against the Pelicans is slated for 8:00 p.m.