The Pacers offense still isn't clicking the way it needs to be, but it was effective enough to score 93 points. The defense, on the other hand, was ON against the Wizards, holding them to an NBA season low 66 points. It was a much needed win, and coupled with the Heat's double-OT loss to the Nets, gives the 29-7 Pacers a 2.5 lead in the East.
Paul George, who is now 3rd overall in All Star votes and a lock to start in New Orleans, could not get it going offensively, struggling 2-14 from the field for a season low 8 points, the first time he failed to score in double figures for the first time this season. But he made up for it in other areas, grabbing a season high 14 rebounds and dishing out a team high 6 assists against one turnover. Picking up the slack in scoring was David West, who snapped out of a small funk with 20 points and 8 reboundson 9-13 shooting. The other star of the night was CJ Watson, who didn't miss a shot from anywhere en route to 16 points.
The Wizards had been going well and could have returned to 0.500 with a win, plus unlike the last time the two teams met, they had Nene and Bradley Beal this time. So despite what it looks like, this was a quality win against a surging team that remains 6th in the East.
The Pacers, who are a league-leading 18-1 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, have three more home games coming up before a huge 5-game road trip that could either really solidify their lead or pull them back towards Miami in the standings. Next up is Sacramento, who have a horrendous record but a monster inside in DeMarcus Cousins, one of only four players in league averaging 20-10, so Roy Hibbert, Ian Mahinmi and David West are going to have their hands full. After that the Pacers face the resurging Knicks, before taking on the Chris Paul-less Clippers, though I'm sure Darren Collison will be ready to take it to his former team like he did against the Mavs the other night. All three are winnable but dangerous games, and it will be interesting to see how the Pacers respond.