The Washington Wizards will remain in Indiana for game two of their NBA Playoff Conference semi-final series, and after a commanding win in game one, Randy Whitman and his young Wizards side have nothing to fear.
Washington have already caused a small stir in the playoffs by eliminating the Chicago Bulls 4-1. Not only was the victory itself impressive, but the manner of their four wins turned heads.
Against one of the best defensive teams the NBA has seen, Washington terrorized Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer all night long, regularly putting up 100+ points against a solid defensive unit.
Indiana are somewhat fortuitous to even be in the playoffs at this stage, after they needed home court advantage to see off the Atlanta Hawks 4-3. It was a series mired by bad team performances and even a scuffle between teammates, but the Pacers survived.
One of the things Indiana struggled with most in the series against their Hawks was the ability to defend the three back. Pretty much anyone on the court can hit a three for the Hawks, and Indiana struggled with their big guys regularly being pulled out of the paint.
The expectancy in game one against Washington was that Indiana would fair much better, as Hibbert was allowed to sit in the paint and do what he does best.
What everyone seemed to forget, is that Hibbert hasn’t been doing much of anything lately. That was summed up as he left the game in the second quarter with 0 points, 0 rebounds and 3 fouls through 10 minutes of ball.
Although Washington only really have two serious three point threats in Ariza and Beal, Indiana still successfully managed to get absolutely nowhere near them, and in-turn Washington won the game on perimeter shooting alone.
Trevor Ariza started 6 from 6 behind the arc, whilst Beal made his first two three point shots.
Another expectancy was that Indiana’s defence would slow Washington down, but it never happened. Chicago couldn’t do it, so why should Indiana?
Not only do Washington run the ball fast after turnovers (and that hurt Indiana) but they use the floor so well and fill the lanes. Wall moves so quick, Indiana were often resigned to the fact they weren’t getting back in to their defensive zone.
I don’t see what changes from game one that merits Indiana remaining a 4.5 favorite. Not only did they not cover, but they were comfortably beaten by Washington.
Atlanta should of eliminated Indiana, but Washington will. Back the Wizards to win the series at 1.64 with 888Sport.
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