Forward David West had a game-high 29 points to lead the No. 1 seed Indiana Pacers to a series-clinching 89-76 win over the Washington Wizards in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Indiana took control of the game in the first quarter, playing with more energy and tenacity than Washington. The Wizards played with an uncharacteristic lack of desperation for a team facing elimination, and the Pacers took advantage, building a 12-point lead by halftime.

Washington did make a comeback in the fourth quarter, as forward Drew Gooden brought a fiery attitude off the bench that sparked a wave of energy for the Wizards, who took the lead from Indy briefly midway through the final period. Bradley Beal nailed a three-pointer in transition that put Washington ahead, 74-73, with eight minutes left in the game. But West came right back with a jump shot that restored Indiana’s lead. The Pacers wouldn’t relinquish the lead from that point as West scored six more points in the waning minutes to secure the win.

Along with West, Indiana’s entire starting five scored double digits: guard Lance Stevenson scored 17 points, forward Paul George added 12 and center Roy Hibbert and guard George Hill each scored 11.

Center Marcin Gortat led Washington with 19 points while Beal followed with 16 points. Forward Nene added 15 points and guard John Wall scored 12 points with nine assists.

Indiana advanced to face the No. 2 seed Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Game 1 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Saturday, May 18 at 3:30 p.m.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor