INDIANAPOLIS: Bradley Beal scored a game-high 25 points and Trevor Ariza added 22 as the well-rested Washington Wizards beat top-seeded Indiana 102-96 on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) to open their NBA playoff series.
The Wizards improved to 4-0 on the road in this post-season as they seized the lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series.
Beal added seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals and Ariza connected on six of six attempts from three-point range for the Wizards, who hadn’t played since wrapping up a 4-1 first-round series win over Chicago on Tuesday.
The Pacers, meanwhile, needed seven games to get past Atlanta, advancing with a game-seven win on Saturday.
Ariza said he didn’t perceive the Pacers as tired after their tough first-round tussle.
Marcin Gortat and Drew Gooden each posted double-doubles in the comprehensive triumph—Washington’s first since 1982 in the second round of the playoffs.
Gortat finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds and Gooden posted 12 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in less than 18 minutes off the bench.
John Wall did his part also, contributing 13 points and nine assists as the Wizards snapped a 12-game losing streak in Indianapolis.
In Oklahoma City, Paul scored 17 of his 32 points in the first quarter on Monday (Tueday in Manila) as the Los Angeles Clippers routed Oklahoma City 122-105 in their NBA playoff series opener.
The Clippers seized control early and never let up, leading by as many as 29 points en route to the triumph that gave them a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference second-round series.
Paul shook off a right hamstring injury and sprained left thumb, connecting on his first eight three-point attempts and missing only two of his 14 shots from the field overall.
He threw in 10 assists for good measure as the Clippers showed no hangover from a tough seven-game first-round tussle with Golden State, which was played in the shadow of the controversy over racially charged comments by Clippers owner Donald Sterling that got the 80-year-old billionaire banned for life from all NBA activities.