Pacers pull away from Wiz, set up East finals rematch

Washington, DC ( - The Eastern Conference finals rematch most anticipated throughout the season has come to fruition.

David West came up big down the stretch and the Indiana Pacers eliminated the Washington Wizards with a 93-80 win in a hard-fought Game 6 at Verizon Center.

The closeout victory vaults the top-seeded Pacers back into another conference finals against the Miami Heat, who won last year's slugfest in seven grueling games. This time, however, Indiana owns homecourt advantage in a must-see series that opens Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"We've had our back against the wall...which I think will prepare us for a tough series against Miami," West said. "It's going to come down to the details and who can impose their will."

Standing in the way of the noteworthy matchup was a feisty Wizards bunch that rallied from a 16-point deficit Thursday only to succumb in crunch time.

West scored eight of his game-high 29 points during a late 17-2 run that proved to be the difference for the Pacers, who shot 51.4 percent from the floor and saw all five starters score in double figures.

Lance Stephenson chipped in with 17 points and eight assists, Paul George added 12 points, and Roy Hibbert and George Hill each went for 11.

The Wizards, two days after a season-extending 23-point blowout win in Game 5, shot just 2-for-18 from 3-point range and made only two field goals over the final 8 1/2 minutes.

They were led by Marcin Gortat's 19 points while the backcourt duo of Bradley Beal and John Wall combined to shoot just 34.3 percent from the field (12- of-35) for 28 points.

"We fought," Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said of his young club. "That's something that we can continue to build on."

What looked like a blowout early in the second half turned tight when the Wizards embarked on a 19-4 stretch spanning the third and fourth quarters to take their first lead since it was 8-7.

Beal ripped the ball away from Hibbert under the Indiana basket and followed with a straightaway 3-pointer to give Washington a 74-73 advantage, but the Pacers answered with the game-deciding flurry.

"We knew they'd make a run, but we maintained our composure and got back to where we want to be," West said.

West brought them there with consecutive jumpers, and after Gortat scored inside, the Wizards went 0-for-6 from the floor with four turnovers over the next five minutes.

Indiana's subsequent 11-0 run extended the lead to 90-76 and essentially sealed the outcome.

The Pacers, after hitting just 39 percent of their shots in Tuesday's rout, quickly rebounded by making all but six of their 19 attempts in the first quarter. Stephenson netted nine points during the frame, and the visitors led, 29-23, heading to the second.

Stephenson's fastbreak dunk off a nice feed from Hill had Indiana up by a dozen, 39-27, and it was a 12-point game, 52-40, at the intermission.

The margin reached as high as 16 early in the third before the Wizards got the home crowd back into it with an 11-2 run, which Wall capped with a fastbreak layup that cut the deficit to 58-51.

Game Notes

The home team only won once this series (Indiana, Game 2) ... Indiana is 5-1 on the road in the postseason ... Washington, which had a 39-rebound advantage in Game 5, only pulled down two more boards (40-38).