INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Marcin Gortat had 31 points and 16 rebounds, John Wall scored 27 points and the Washington Wizards rode a 39-rebound advantage to a 102-79 rout of Indiana on Tuesday night, cutting the Pacers’ lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals to 3-2.
Washington can even the series at home on Thursday in Game 6.
It was a stunning turnaround for a team that had lost the last three. But with Gortat matching a career high in points and posting a playoff career high in rebounds, Washington held a 62-23 rebounding edge.
David West scored 17 points for Indiana.
Washington used a 15-6 run to take a 45-38 halftime lead, extended the margin to 24 after three and to as much as 30 in the fourth.
Washington denied the top-seeded Pacers a spot in the conference finals and improved to 4-2 on the road in this year’s playoffs. They are just 1-3 at home.
Indiana couldn’t get enough stops because of its rebounding problems, and it didn’t take long to see it play out.
Gortat and Wall combined for eight of the Wizards’ first 10 points, and they were strong enough inside to fend off a brief Indiana scoring flurry to make it 25-19 after one.
Indiana charged back early in the second. Luis Scola scored the first five points, topping Indiana’s entire bench total from Game 4, and took a 27-25 lead when Paul George knocked down a 3-pointer with 9:49 to go.
It was all Wizards after that.
Things got even worse for the Pacers in the third when they were outrebounded 18-4, and the Wizards made them pay for it. 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.
After blowing a 19-point, second-half lead in Game 4, Washington didn’t dare slow down. The Wizards took a 30-point lead early in the fourth and Indiana couldn’t even make a serious run to cut into the deficit until coach Frank Vogel pulled his starters midway through the fourth.