An Eastern Conference final place is over the horizon for the Indiana Pacers as they clinched a third successive victory against the Washington Wizards last night at the Verizon Centre in a thrilling 95-92 win.
Game four was set to be an interesting encounter as it was all to play for as Washington needed a win to tie the series, while the Pacers could widen their series lead with a much needed road victory.
Roy Hibbert continued his recent rehabilitation, posting 17 points and completing six of his 12 attempted field goals.
"He woke me up. He said I was tired. He was saying a lot of obscenities.
"I'm a God-fearing man, so I'm not going to say what he was saying," explained Hibbert.
The first quarter showed the intensity of this match with one point separating the two sides as the Pacers took the lead at 27-26.
Paul George scored nine points, converting five of his seven attempted field goals, while George Hill added nine to the board in 12 minutes.
Trevor Ariza meanwhile hit four of his four attempted field goals for the Wizards, but his 10 points were not quite enough in the first period.
In the second period the Pacers hit a roadblock and fell dramatically, losing the period 29-11.
Bradley Beal hit eight for the Wizards, while Al Harrington scored six to give the hosts a 17 point lead at 55-38 heading in at half-time.
Randy Wittman was happy, but Frank Vogel gave some inspiring words, it seemed, as the Pacers came out in the second half and showed why they finished top of the Eastern Conference.
The third quarter saw the Pacers score 33 points to the Wizards 17 with Paul George recording 13 points. Hibbert went on to add nine while David West notched up a comfortable seven.
Heading into the final quarter the visitors had closed the gap down to only one point with 12 minutes to play, and the Wizards were feeling the pressure.
Ultimately the class of the Pacers shone through as Vogel's men went on to clinch the quarter 24-20, and the game 95-92.
George was again scoring the points. The 2014 All Star hitting 15 to take his overall tally to 39 points, with Hibbert adding six.
Washington really needed a win last night as Wittman's men will have to go to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse 3-1 down.
The Wizards have only won once from their last four meetings in Indiana, and even though Washington had five players who scored doubled figures at the Verizon Centre last night, it wasn't enough to beat the Pacers determination.
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