Each team looks to build on its latest victory Thursday night when the visiting Pacers try for a fourth consecutive win over the Wizards.
Indiana (26-18) just said goodbye to forward Jeff Foster, who retired after 13 seasons Wednesday, but the Pacers are excited about the addition of veteran guard Leandro Barbosa. Acquired from Toronto for a second-round pick to add backcourt depth, Barbosa provided a spark in his first game with his new club by scoring 12 points in 18 minutes off the bench during Tuesday's 102-89 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
"I think Leandro is going to be a big lift for us, he's just going to feed into the energy off the bench, and the fast break style we bring this year,'' said Indiana forward Tyler Hansbrough, who scored 17 points.
Barbosa, who averaged 12.2 points in 43 games for the struggling Raptors, is thrilled about his new opportunity to contribute to a playoff contender.
"I'm very excited to come in and play with the second group," Barbosa said. "They run like crazy, so it was enjoyable.''
Hansbrough and Barbosa helped Indiana's reserves outscore the Clippers' bench 50-23 as the Pacers avoided a seventh loss in nine games.
After Danny Granger totaled 20 points on 9-of-30 shooting in the previous two games - both losses to New York - the veteran forward scored 25 against the Clippers while shooting slightly better from the field - 7 of 17.
Granger has averaged 21.3 points on 55.0 percent shooting during Indiana's three-game winning streak against the Wizards. He had 21 points and 10 rebounds in a 113-96 win at Washington on Feb. 22, 2011.
While the Pacers are happy to have Barbosa in the mix, the Wizards (11-34) should be excited about the addition of fellow Brazilian Nene.
In his first game since being acquired from Denver in a three-team trade last week that also involved the Clippers, Nene had 22 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday as Washington avoided a third consecutive defeat with a 108-89 victory at New Jersey.
"It's been a crazy few days,'' said Nene, who struggled with injuries this season while averaging 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in 24 games with the Nuggets. "The team gave me a lot of support, and the city is giving me a lot of support. I just tried to work hard and tried to have fun with the new players.''
Nene should provide some much-needed punch for a Washington offense that ranks near the bottom of league with 94.1 points per game.
"You know Nene is capable of getting 20 and 10,'' said new teammate Roger Mason Jr., who added 16 points against the Nets. "Some of the younger guys can learn a lot from him.''
Nene has averaged 14.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in his last seven games versus Indiana.
After scoring 22 points in a 97-92 loss at Memphis on Sunday, Jordan Crawford had a game-high 23 at New Jersey as the Wizards salvaged a second win in the finale of a six-game road trip.
Washington has won back-to-back games once this season, Feb. 12 and 14 at Detroit and Portland.
- Washington Wizards
- Leandro Barbosa
- Indiana Pacers
- Los Angeles Clippers