The Indiana Pacers have some tough games ahead and first must take care of business tonight against the Washington Wizards.
Indiana will face Oklahoma City and Boston after its matchup with the Wizards in D.C., and is in the heat of a postseason race. The Pacers are currently third in the Eastern Conference -- one-half game up on Orlando -- and have won two straight and seven of their last 10 games.
In a 112-104 victory over a New York Knicks team playing without Jeremy Lin and Amare Stoudemire, Danny Granger scored 11 points during Indiana's big surge to open the fourth quarter and finished with 27 points and seven rebounds. Paul George added 18 points and eight rebounds, while Leandro Barbosa and Dahntay Jones netted 12 points apiece for the Pacers, who outscored the Knicks, 40-17, in the last quarter.
"I'm very, very proud of how they didn't quit on the game," said Pacers head coach Frank Vogel about his team's resiliency. "We were down big, made an adjustment and went with the small lineup and man, did they respond."
The Pacers have allowed 100-plus points in three straight games and will start a three-game homestand versus the Thunder, Celtics and Raptors following their visit to the nation's capital.
Meanwhile, the Wizards can kick it up a notch when they want to and will try to throw a wrench in Indiana's plans for homecourt advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
Washington has lost two straight and seven of its last eight games, and is coming off Monday's 112-98 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Jordan Crawford poured in a game-high 23 points and Kevin Seraphin netted 15 for the Wizards, who fell to 7-20 as the host.
"We didn't have the bounce in our legs tonight like we had in the past couple of games," said Washington head coach Randy Wittman. "They made a big run on us in the third and that took the wind out of our game."
John Wall recorded 14 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and is averaging 16.6 points, 8.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game since the All-Star break (20 games). Wall is 12 assists shy of 1,000 career assists. Washington's Trevor Booker and Nene both sat with plantar fasciitis and are listed as doubtful versus Indiana.
The Wizards have lost the first two meetings with Indiana this season and haven't been swept in this series since losing all four matchups in the 2000-01 campaign.