Pacers beat Wizards, book playoff date with Miami
WASHINGTON–Top seed Indiana advanced to a playoff showdown with defending champion Miami for a berth in the NBA Finals with a 93-80 victory Thursday at Washington.
David West scored a game-high 29 points for the Pacers, who won the best-of-seven Eastern Conference second-round series four games to two over the Wizards.
Indiana advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the second year in a row, where they will face a rematch with the Heat to decide a berth in next month’s NBA Finals.
The Heat beat the Pacers in seven games in last year’s Eastern Conference final on the way to a second consecutive NBA crown.
Washington’s Bradley Beal hit a three-pointer to cap a 19-4 run and give the Wizards their first lead since the opening minutes at 74-73.
But Indiana responded by scoring 17 of the next 19 points, surging to a 90-76 advantage to put the game out of reach.
Lance Stephenson added 17 points, while Paul George netted 12 and Roy Hibbert and George Hill each scored 11 points for the Pacers.
Washington, which has not reached the conference finals in 35 years, was led by 19 points from Polish center Marcin Gortat, 16 from Beal and 15 from Brazilian forward Nene.
Hibbert’s slam dunk gave the Pacers their largest first-half lead at 47-32 but the Wizards rallied within 52-40 at half-time.
Washington went on an 11-2 run early in the third quarter, pulling within 58-51 on John Wall’s fast break layup, but Indiana answered with an 11-4 spurt, stretching the Pacers’ edge to 69-55 and setting up the Wizards’ late comeback to seize the lead.
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