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Wizards 96, Pacers 94 (OT)

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WASHINGTON — Guard John Wall scored 31 points, including seven in overtime, as the streaking Washington Wizards exacted revenge from last season’s playoff series loss to the Indiana Pacers with a 96-94 overtime victory on Wednesday night.

The Wizards have won four straight and improved to 4-1 for the first time since opening the 2005-06 campaign 5-1. Washington didn’t reach three games over .500 last season until March 1 with a 31-28 record.

Guard Garrett Temple had 16 points and Wall added 10 assists for the Wizards. Washington held a seemingly comfortable 12-point lead in the second half following a 21-4 run, only to see the Pacers (1-4) tie the game three times in the final 4:07 minutes.

Guard Donald Sloan scored a career-high 31 points for Indiana and his running layup made it 84-84 with six seconds remaining. The Pacers have lost four straight.

Center Roy Hibbert’s two free throws with 3:24 remaining in overtime gave the Pacers their first lead since the first half at 88-87.

With his former University of Kentucky coach John Calipari in attendance, Wall countered with a pull-up jumper and then scored two additional baskets following Indiana turnovers for a 93-88 lead.

The Wizards made 21 of 23 free throws, but Wall could only split a pair with 12.1 seconds remaining for a 96-94 lead. Hibbert missed a 3-point attempt on Indiana’s final possession and Copeland’s putback attempt erred.

Copeland had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers. Fellow forward Solomon Hill also set a career high with 14 points.

The two sides met for the first time since the Pacers defeated the Wizards 4-2 in the Eastern Conference semifinal round last season. Indiana also took the regular-season series 2-1 and won all three postseason games in Washington.

Wizards forward Paul Pierce missed 12 of 15 shots from the field, including a possible game-winning jumper at the end of regulation. Pierce had 11 points.

Washington outscored Indiana 14-4 over the final 5:19 of the second quarter for a 46-41 halftime lead and led 61-49 in the third.

Injuries have decimated Indiana’s roster this season. With guard Rodney Stuckey sidelined, only 10 players were available for coach Frank Vogel Wednesday.

NOTES: The short-handed Pacers are closing in on signing free agent Gal Mekel as their 16th player. The Dallas Mavericks recently released the point guard and Indiana needs healthy bodies in the backcourt. “Nothing is final,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said of signing Mekel. Vogel added that the native of Israel is the only player the team is currently trying to sign. “We applied for the hardship exception and received it (from the league).” Vogel said guard Rodney Stuckey (sore left foot) will miss at least three games. … Washington lost all three home games to Indiana in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinal series. … The Pacers’ fourth loss last season didn’t come until Dec. 16 in their 24th game. … The Wizards open a two-game trip Friday at the Toronto Raptors before traveling to meet Indiana on Saturday. …The Pacers host the Boston Celtics on Friday.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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