WASHINGTON -- John 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.
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. 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.
Washington had lost 10 straight to Indiana including the previous three games this season.
Roy Hibbert had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Gerald Green scored 13 points for the Pacers. Indiana (48-29) 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.
Indiana's leading scorer on the season, Paul George, missed all eight of his field goal attempts and finished with two points after
scoring only eight points against the Thunder. The All-Star forward had reached double-digit points in 23 straight games before
The Wizards improved to 24-19 since Wall returned from a knee injury Jan. 12.
Wall's explosive first half included tallying 15 points in the first quarter by making seven of eight shots, 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.
Leading 51-48 at halftime, the Wizards opened their largest lead at 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 would get 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.
NOTES: At halftime, the Wizards honored the 35th anniversary of the franchise's only NBA Championship team. Members of the Washington Bullets 1978 title team were on hand, including Hall of Famers Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld. ... The first three games of the season series came before Jan. 2 and before Wall returned from his knee injury. ... The retro vibe inside the Verizon Center included the Bullets name listed on the old school-themed scoreboard and fans receiving a replica of the 1978 championship ring. ... Hibbert attended high school in the Maryland suburbs and played his college career inside the same area for Georgetown. ...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.