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Fri, 16 May 2014 04:15:24 +0000
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Despite a stumbling first round victory, the Indiana Pacers looked back to form on Thursday night when they beat Washington 93-80 to finish off the series four games to two. Indiana now advances to the Eastern Conference Finals to face defending champion Miami in a rematch of last year's conference finals.
"We're ready to go," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel. "I like the way we played this series. We have nothing but the utmost respect for the champs and we're excited to have another crack at them."
The Game Six win was not an easy one for the Pacers as they blew a 16-point second half lead before using their defense to pull away late. Washington was held scoreless for more than four minutes in the second quarter, giving Indiana a 52-40 halftime advantage. That was eventually erased, and the Wizards took a 74-73 lead with 8:30 to play.
However, David West came right back and hit a jumper to put the Pacers ahead for good. That basket triggered a 20-6 run to close out the game -- and the series. West finished the game with 29 points, including 18 in the second half, to pace all scorers.
John Wall was held to just 12 points for the Wizards and was 0-4 from three-point range. Marcin Gortat was Washington's leading scorer with 19 points. The Wizards advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2005 and won a second round game for the first since 1982.
It has been a puzzling season for Indiana, who held a 46-13 record on March 2 before limping into the playoffs. After being pushed to seven games by eighth-seeded Atlanta in the first round, and losing Game 1 at home to Washington, the Pacers played impressively on the road and are 5-4 away from home in the postseason.
Indiana will now host the back-to-back champs in Game One on Sunday in Indianapolis. The Pacers and Heat went a full seven games last season with Miami defeating Indiana 99-76 in the decisive game.
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