Preview: Pacers at Wizards
The Indiana Pacers are reeling from the loss of star guard Victor Oladipo as they begin a four-game road trip Wednesday against the Washington Wizards. Indiana is 0-2 since Oladipo was lost to a season-ending knee injury after being steamrolled 132-100 by visiting Golden State on Monday.
The 32-point loss to the Warriors represents the Pacers’ worst of the season, and the team is viewing its trek as vitally important after losing its best player. “Everything is important right now,” Indiana coach Nate McMillan told reporters. “We’re going down the stretch and we’ve had to make some major adjustments. Every game becomes even more important. Certainly, this road trip is important.” Washington is beginning a three-game homestand after losing back-to-back games, including Tuesday’s 116-113 setback against Cleveland – a contest in which it trailed by 25 points in the fourth quarter. “Regardless of if the team you’re playing has a good record or not a good one, you’ve got to always outplay your opponent with effort,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks told reporters, “and we didn’t do that.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN, FS Indiana, NBCS Washington
ABOUT THE PACERS (32-17): Tyreke Evans (back) will miss his second straight game on Wednesday, and that further diminishes the available firepower for Indiana. Edmond Sumner was pressed into the lineup on Monday for his first career start and scored two points on 1-of-10 shooting in a dreadful showing. “He had his head down a little bit after the game,” veteran point guard Darren Collison told reporters. “I told him, ‘Look, you may not notice, but you played good. Forget about the offense. I don’t care how good you are, nobody in their first game playing against a back-to-back championship team is going to be great. It takes time, it takes rhythm.'”
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (21-29): Tuesday’s setback was Washington’s second against the lowly Cavaliers this season, and Bradley Beal was none too happy with his club’s effort. “We probably thought that Cleveland was terrible, and they came out and punched us in the mouth, just like they did last time,” Beal told reporters. “You can’t overlook anybody. You’ve got to respect every team in the league.” Beal poured in 31 points for his fifth 30-point performance of the month and 12th of the campaign.
1. The Pacers won two home games against the Wizards by an average of 12 points earlier this season.
2. Washington C Thomas Bryant scored just five points against Cleveland to snap a streak of seven straight double-digit performances.
3. Indiana SF Bojan Bogdanovic has recorded 15 or more points in eight of his last 11 contests.