Wizards grab No. 7 seed in East, down Pacers
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – Antawn Jamison scored 19 points and pulled
down 11 rebounds, as the Washington Wizards beat Indiana, 98-95, to grab the
seventh seed heading into the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
DeShawn Stevenson added 15 points for the Wizards (41-41), who are in the
postseason despite losing two of their best players to injuries – Gilbert
Arenas and Caron Butler.
Washington will play Cleveland in the first round of the playoffs.
“It is good to end the season on a good note,” Jamison said. “I didn’t think
we played smart enough tonight. We put ourselves in a difficult situation and
we were fortunate to get a win. Ever since we lost both of our All-Stars it’s
definitely been tough.”
Antonio Daniels added 13 points and nine assists for Washington, which won
just two of its final 10 games to end the regular season. The Wizards swept
the season series (3-0) from the Pacers for the first time since 1976-77.
Mike Dunleavy Jr. had 17 points for the Pacers (35-47), who missed out on the
postseason, finishing five games behind eighth seed Orlando. Their victories
are the fewest since winning 28 in the 1988-89 season. After that the Pacers
reached the playoffs in 16 of the next 17 campaigns.
The Pacers played without Jermaine O’Neal, who was sidelined with a sore left
knee. Guard Jamaal Tinsley also didn’t play due to a sore right elbow.
“Very frustrating missing the playoffs and not participating in the
postseason,” Tinsley said. “It was a pretty good year for me. I stayed fairly
healthy and had pretty good numbers. But that means nothing. Individual stats
mean nothing when you don’t have a successful year.”
Dunleavy’s basket with 41 seconds left tied the game at 95, but Daniels made
one free throw with 30 seconds remaining to give Washington the lead.
Ike Diogu then missed a pair from the charity stripe with 25.5 seconds left
for Indiana and Darius Songaila made two foul shots for a three-point
advantage with 17.8 seconds left.
Stevenson then picked off a pass from Indiana’s Danny Granger and the Wizards
ran out the clock.
Songaila had 12 points, Brendan Haywood 11 and Etan Thomas 10 for Washington.
Granger scored 14, Diogu 13 and Keith McLeod 11 for the Pacers, who missed the
playoffs for the first time since the 1996-97 season.
The Wizards led 25-18 after one quarter and led throughout the second for a
58-53 edge going into the half. It was close in the third, with Washington
holding a 76-73 lead going into the fourth.
The Wizards stretched their advantage to 91-83 with under four minutes left
before Indiana rallied.
The Pacers made half of their 16 three-pointers…Washington was 32-of-44 from
the foul line.