Despite the slump, the Indiana Pacers’ offense was never really the problem.
Their stifling defense had slipped in the playoffs, forcing their offense to keep a pace they simply couldn’t.
They got back to their defensive best in Game 3, holding the Washington Wizards to a franchise playoff-low 63 points.
Paul George scored 23 points and eight rebounds while Roy Hibbert had another strong night with 14 points and five boards.
The Wizards had never scored fewer than 75 points in a playoff game – two week against the Bulls – and had never scored fewer than 64 points in any game.
Washington made just 24 field goals, another franchise-low, out of 73 attempts and shot just 4-16 from behind the three-point line. More damage was done at the free-throw line as the team made just 11 of their 21 foul shots.
Both teams scored 17 first-quarter points with the score stuck at 34-33 at halftime, a playoff-low in the shot-clock era.
Only Trevor Ariza shot above 50 percent, going 4-8 from the field.
John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 31 of the Wizards’ 63 points. They did, however, shoot 12-29, highlighting the Wizards’ woes.
Nene had another bad night as he has struggled in this series to make his shots, this time missing eleven of his fourteen field goal attempts.
The Pacers needed to return to their trademark defensive stinginess after allowing the Hawks to unilaterally torch them throughout the first round, drawing Indiana into a shootout.
The defense is back, and so are the Pacers.
Paul George: 23 points, 6-15 FGS, 8 rebounds
Roy Hibbert: 14 points, 6-9 FGS, 5 rebounds
David West: 12 points, 6-14 FGS, 3 rebounds
Bradley Beal: 16 points, 6-19 FGS, 3 rebounds
John Wall: 15 points, 6-13 FGS, 6 assists
Trevor Ariza: 12 points, 4-8 FGS, 15 rebounds
Game 4 @WAS: Sunday, May 11th, Tip: 8pm ET