Some night’s it is n entire team that propels you to victory, and some nights it is one player, tonight was the night for Marcin Gortat to be that one player that did it all. Gortat not only flustered the Pacers early, he practically out-rebounded their entire team for the entire game by himself with 31 career high playoff points, setting up a Game 6 back in Washington with a convincing 102-79 victory.
“ I think we played with intensity as a team tonight,” said Wizards Center Marcin Gortat. We can play like this on any given night and tonight was that night. We came into this game knowing how important of a game this was. No one likes to go home at the point and we certainly did not want tonight.”
One more notable from tonight was the 13-15 FG (86.7%); highest field goal percentage by player with 30 points and 15 rebounds in a game in NBA playoff history.
“They didn’t stop me from being aggressive on both ends,” Wall said. “But the biggest thing was just the way we played in the third quarter. They outscored us by like 40 in the other four games, so the third quarter was big for us tonight.”
For the Pacers, tonight’s game was a tale of two different teams. With Gortat and Nene putting the pressure on Roy Hibbert and David West it forced them to more outside shots than normal in the Frank Vogel offense. They also did not rebound very well the entire game, with just 23 rebounds the entire game and 19 of those being defensive rebounds.
“As I said in many of these press conferences this series, Washington has a strong connection with their big men and tonight they also had the presence of John Wall. We just could not find the right combination and I think all of us were a little frustrated with our rebounding performance tonight,” said Vogel.
Things got even worse for the Pacers in the third quarter when they were outrebounded 18-4, and the Wizards just continued to cash in, including 17 by Wall in the quarter. Washington’s 6-0 run extended the lead to 11, a 9-2 spurt pushed the margin to 60-45, and when the Wizards closed the third on a 10-3 charge, it was 76-52.
The Pacers lost by 23 points at home to the Wizards tonight. So just a little bit of interesting facts, for those wondering who was the last team to lose by 20 plus points at home and still win the NBA title in the same season? The 2000 Los Angeles Lakers, who lost 106-77 to the Trailblazers in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. Chances are if the Pacers look to do that they will have to win Game 6 and then their road heads through Miami, which the Wizards plan on stopping after tonight.