INDIANAPOLIS — The Washington Wizards weren’t ready to go home for the summer.
Center Marcin Gortat tied a career high with 31 points, and guard John Wall scored 17 of his 27 points in the third quarter as the Wizards avoided elimination with a powerful 102-79 win over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Gortat also grabbed a game-high 16 rebounds for the Wizards, who trail the best-of-seven series three games to two. The Pacers won each of the previous three games.
It was Indiana’s most lopsided loss in the playoffs since a 26-point loss to the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference semifinals last year.
Indiana forward David West scored 17 points, and forward Paul George added 15. Center Roy Hibbert was held to four points and two rebounds.
Guard Bradley Beal added 18 points and eight rebounds for Washington. Forward Trevor Ariza finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Game 6 will be played Thursday night at the Verizon Center in Washington. If a seventh game is needed, it would be played Sunday in Indianapolis.
Washington is attempting to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1979.
The Wizards went to Gortat early and often. After taking just 10 shots in his previous two games and scoring just three baskets, Gortat scored the Wizards’ first two baskets in the first two minutes of the game and had 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting in the first half.
Three baskets by Gortat helped fuel a 17-3 run by Washington in the second quarter, leading to a 45-38 halftime edge. Ariza and Beal each had two baskets in that stretch.
Wall’s third-quarter surge helped the Wizards build their lead to 24 points. Wall hit six of eight shots in the period, including three of four from beyond the 3-point arc.
After Indiana guard C.J. Watson sank a 3-pointer to give the Pacers a 32-28 lead with 6:45 left in the second quarter, but Indiana scored just two baskets the rest of the quarter. The Pacers managed just five baskets and 14 points in the third quarter. Over the second and third quarters combined, Indiana made 12 of 36 shots.
The Pacers shot 39 percent from the floor for the game, while the Wizards hit 50 percent of their shots.
NOTES: Entering Tuesday’s game, the Indiana Pacers led the NBA by allowing an average of just 89.6 points per game in the playoffs. That included an average of 79 points scored by Washington in Games 2, 3 and 4 in the Eastern Conference semifinals. “We’re OK with games being ugly, we win games ugly in this style of play,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. “Certainly, to achieve our goals, we’re going to have to be efficient on the offensive end.” … Guard C.J. Watson is the only Indiana bench player to score in every playoff contest. … In the first four minutes, Washington C Marcin Gortat equaled his offensive output of the previous three games. He had three baskets and a free throw. In Games 3 and 4, he scored a combined seven points on 3-of-10 shooting. … While the Wizards won all three road games in their first-round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls and two of three in Indianapolis during the second round, they have lost three of four home playoff games at the Verizon Center.
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