INDIANAPOLIS: Marcin Gortat tallied 31 points and 16 rebounds as the Washington Wizards staved off elimination with a 102-79 win over the Indiana Pacers in game five of their NBA playoff series.
Gortat had a double double by the end of the second quarter for the Wizards — who still trail in the second round series, three games to two, despite a dominating victory Tuesday.
Washington seized a commanding 24-point lead in the third quarter in front of a crowd of 18,165 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena in Indianapolis.
Teammate John Wall, who scored 17 of his 27 points in the third, said after the game, “I was locked in.”
“I didn’t say anything to anybody (before game five). I just wanted to come in locked in.”
Gortat said he has good chemistry with Wall.
“He plays good or bad, I have his back. I told him that before the game,” said Gortat.
The Wizards were facing elimination for the first time in the playoffs, and, instead of getting their golf clubs ready for a summer of fun, they stayed alive and improved to five wins and one loss on the road in the 2014 postseason.
They dominated on the glass, out-rebounding the Pacers 62-23 on Tuesday.
Indiana’s Paul George and Roy Hibbert saw their games disappear. Hibbert, who had zero points and zero rebounds in game one, finished with a measly four points and two rebounds on Tuesday.
George went from a 39-point performance in game four to 15 points on just five-of-15 from the field.
“It is a tough situation,” said Pacers player David West. “We have got to be able to handle these moments.”
West paced the attack with 17 points in an otherwise forgettable showing by the East’s number one seeded team.
Indiana’s three consecutive wins mean less now as this Eastern Conference series heads back to Washington for game six on Thursday.
Indiana is trying to reach the second round for the second consecutive season.
Pacers coach Frank Vogel gave his starters the day off on Monday and Hibbert and George looked like they were still on break time Tuesday.
“We didn’t match their physicality,” Vogel said of his team.