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Washington at Indiana

Wiz lock up seventh seed, earn first-round matchup with Cavs

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Washington Wizards are limping into the playoffs, but the Indiana Pacers would gladly trade places with them.

A surge in the final minutes lifted the Wizards to a 98-95 victory over the Pacers on Wednesday night. The victory gave Washington the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference, and the Wizards will play No. 2 Cleveland in the first round.

Indiana will sit at home for the first time in a decade.

Washington, hampered down the stretch by injuries to Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler, found enough resolve to win for just the second time in 10 games.

"For us, it was very important," said Antawn Jamison, who led the Wizards (41-41) with 19 points and 11 rebounds. "It's good for our psyche and it's good for us to go into the playoffs with some type of momentum."

The Pacers (35-47) ended one of their most disappointing seasons in years. The Pacers were 29-24 on Feb. 21, but then lost 11 games in a row to fall out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference. A loss to Detroit on April 3 clinched the Pacers' first losing season in a decade. The Pacers were officially knocked out of the playoff picture on Sunday when Orlando beat Boston.

Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh said in a statement that he was "very disappointed with the season that concludes tonight." Walsh said he and president of basketball operations Larry Bird will meet this week while attending the NBA Board of Governors meeting, and that he'll meet with the team's ownership over the weekend.

Mike Dunleavy led short-handed Indiana with 17 points. Forward Jermaine O'Neal sat out with a sore left knee and guard Jamaal Tinsley was active but did not play because of a sore right elbow.

Jamison, who scored 48 points in a loss to Orlando on Tuesday night, shot just 5-for-14 from the field but went 9-for-12 from the free throw line. DeShawn Stevenson had 15 points, Antonio Daniels had 13 and Etan Thomas had 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Wizards.

Washington made 32 of 44 free throws, while the Pacers were 19-of-25. Still, Washington struggled in a game that meant nothing to the Pacers.

"I've been in those situations when the season is pretty much over with, but guys are playing with a lot of pride," Jamison said. "Guys want to win their last home game, their last game, period. We knew they had some talented young guys who were going to go out there and play hard."

Daniels' layup gave Washington a 95-93 lead with 58 seconds to go, but Dunleavy tied the game with a bank shot with 41 seconds left.

Daniels made the second of two free throws with 30 seconds left to put the Wizards up 96-95.

Ike Diogu could have given the Pacers the lead, but he missed two free throws with 25 seconds to go, and Daniels grabbed the rebound. Washington's Darius Songaila made two free throws with 17 seconds left to bump the lead to 98-95. Indiana had a chance to tie, but Stevenson intercepted a desperation pass by Danny Granger, and the Wizards ran out the clock.

Conseco Fieldhouse was only about half-filled at tip-off, and the fans watched the Pacers close the season with their fourth straight loss.

"We battled like crazy, and we couldn't quite get over the hump, which is kind of how it's been this year," Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said.

The Wizards now will focus on Cleveland and star forward LeBron James.

"They had a great season, and it's going to be a tough matchup, but we're looking forward to it" Washington forward Jarvis Hayes said. "Ever since we lost both of our All-Stars, it's definitely been tough. We just have to get guys in the right spots and come out fighting."

Jamison likes the role of underdog.

"There's no pressure at all," Jamison said. "People aren't expecting us to win the series - I don't think people are expecting us to win a game. For us, I love being the spoiler, and I love having fun."

Notes

  • There was a moment of silence before the game in remembrance of those killed in Monday's shooting rampage at Virginia Tech.
  • Arenas, who torched the Pacers for 37.5 points and 6.0 assists per game in two meetings this season, was out with a lateral meniscus tear.
  • Indiana C Jeff Foster sat out with a sprained left ankle.
  • Wednesday's game marked the first time that all four players Indiana acquired in the January trade with Golden State started together.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Antawn Jamison scores 19 points in the win, but now it's time to get ready for the Cavaliers.  (AP)
Antawn Jamison scores 19 points in the win, but now it's time to get ready for the Cavaliers. (AP)
Scoreboard
Washington (41-41) «2533182298
Indiana (35-47) 1835202295
WAS:A. Jamison 19 Pts
WAS:A. Jamison 11 Reb
WAS:A. Daniels 9 Ast
IND:M. Dunleavy 17 Pts
IND:T. Murphy 9 Reb
IND:K. McLeod 3 Ast
Players of the Game
IndianaWashington

M. Dunleavy

A. Jamison
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
174119111

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Washington
A. Jamison, PF395-149-12111319
A. Daniels, PG384-65-859013
D. Stevenson, SG335-112-413315
J. Hayes, SF323-102-23019
E. Thomas, PF214-62-480210
D. Songaila, PF234-84-420412
B. Haywood, C205-61-340411
A. Blatche, PF130-12-23232
D. Taylor, PG101-20-02222
R. Mason, PG60-05-50005
C. Booth, PF50-10-00000
M. Ruffin, PFDid Not Play
G. Arenas, PGDid Not Play
C. Butler, SFDid Not Play
M. Hall, FDid Not Play
Totals 31-6532-4439172298
 47.7%72.7% 
Indiana
D. Granger, SF364-105-650514
T. Murphy, C342-102-29158
I. Diogu, PF305-133-680413
M. Dunleavy, SG295-116-741517
K. McLeod, PG285-90-043311
M. Baston, PF213-30-03226
D. Armstrong, PG203-60-03218
R. Marshall, SF194-70-01019
D. Harrison, C121-72-21124
O. Greene, PG122-31-22125
J. O'Neal, PFDid Not Play
J. Tinsley, PGDid Not Play
M. Daniels, SGDid Not Play
J. Foster, CDid Not Play
S. Williams, SFDid Not Play
Totals 34-7919-2540113095
 43.0%76.0% 
Other Games
NY 94 Final
Char 93
Phi 122 Final
Tor 119
Mil 96 Final
Cle 109
Mia 68 Final
Orl 94
Det 91 Final
Bos 89
Chi 97 Final
NJ 106
Den 100 Final
SA 77
Mem 116 Final
Min 94
Hou 91 Final
Utah 101
GS 120 Final
Port 98
Dal 106 Final
Sea 75
LAL 117 Final
Sac 106
NO 86 Final
LAC 83