WASHINGTON -- Before facing the Wizards on the road, Pacers coach Frank Vogel wrote a pregame message to his team on a board inside the locker room: "John Wall is a difference maker."
Washington's blindingly quick point guard with a newfound perimeter shot then when out and showed that Indiana's coach knows of what he speaks.
Wall scored 37 points as the Washington Wizards won their ninth straight home game, 104-85, over the Indiana Pacers, denying them a Central Division clinching victory Saturday night.
"John Wall is becoming a sensational, sensational player," Vogel said following his team's second straight blowout loss. "He was too much for us to handle tonight."
On the night Washington honored the 35th anniversary of the franchise's only NBA championship team, Wall had 26 points in the first half on 12-of-15 shooting and tallied the final six of a 12-0 run to open the third quarter. He also flexed his muscles multiple times during the electric performance, which ended a 10-game losing streak to the Pacers.
Kevin Seraphin added 15 points and Martell Webster had 13 for the up-tempo Wizards (29-47), who held a 28-9 advantage in fast-break scoring and eventually opened up a 21-point lead.
"Whenever you're feeling good, playing good, you're more into the game, you're more enthused, you're (happier)," Wall said of his outgoing ways. "That's the good thing about it when we're winning. It's all equal to having fun with your teammates and enjoy(ing) it."
The Pacers (48-29) are having no fun right now despite their lofty status in the Eastern Conference. Indiana entered the weekend with a five-game winning streak and one victory away from wrapping up the division title but instead dropped consecutive games after losing 97-75 to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday.
Roy Hibbert had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Gerald Green scored 13 points, but the Pacers' struggles from the perimeter continued. Indiana shot 3 of 20 from beyond the 3-point arc after missing 10 of 12 3-pointers against the Thunder.
"We're struggling to make shots," Vogel said. "It's not an excuse, but we look like a tired team. We have to find a way to rejuvenate."
Paul George, Indiana's leading scorer, missed all eight of his field goal attempts and finished with two points after scoring only eight points the Thunder. The All-Star forward, who had reached double-digit points in 23 straight games before Friday's contest, echoed the tired talk.
"We've just been sluggish," George said. "The energy factor hasn't been there, our mental focus hasn't been there. This ... I don't know. We got to find it though."
The Wizards clearly have found their way with Wall in the lineup. Washington improved to 24-19 since Wall returned from a knee injury Jan. 12. All three previous games against Indiana this season came before that date and all ended with the Wizards losing.
Leading 51-48 at halftime, the Wizards jumped ahead 63-48 as the Pacers went scoreless for the opening 4:16 of the third. Indiana trimmed the deficit to seven points later in the quarter, but they got no closer.
Wall's free throw gave the Wizards their largest lead at 98-77. Moments later, he walked off the court to a standing ovation from the crowd of 19,360 after knocking down 16 of 25 shots and dishing out five assists.
His scored 15 points on 7 of 8 shots in the first quarter, highlighted by a fast break, behind-the-back driving layup. The 6-foot-4 guard also blocked a shot by the 7-foot-2 Hibbert, who scored 14 points in the first quarter.
"He was in attack mode early tonight," Wizards reserve guard A.J. Price said. "When he gets like that and he's making shots to start the game off, you know it's going to be a long night for the opposing team."
NOTES: At halftime, the Wizards honored the 1978 Washington Bullets title team. Members of the championship squad on hand included Hall of Famers Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld. The retro vibe inside the Verizon Center included the Bullets name listed on the old school-themed scoreboard and fans receiving replicas of the 1978 championship ring. ... Washington faces the Celtics in Boston on Sunday. ... The Pacers are off until hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday. Indiana's only remaining back-to-back games come April 16-17, its final two games of the season.