As the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards kicked off the semifinal round of the Eastern Conference playoffs Monday night in Indianapolis, anticipation and predictions were the topics of discussion in this best-of-seven series.
Indiana the one-seed. Washington the five-seed. The Pacers booted the Atlanta Hawks, 4-3, in the quarterfinal round, while the Wizards handled the Chicago Bulls in five games, winning the series 4-1.
However, the discussion has shifted following Washington’s defeat of Indiana in game 1 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, 102-96. This contest was not as close as the final score may present. One of the reasons the Wizards held a larger advantage majority of the game was because of the play of reserve veteran Drew Gooden.
Gooden came off the bench for Washington to score 12 points on 5-11 shooting and pull down 13 rebounds in his team’s victory. He contributed his part in just 17 minutes of game action and did commit a team-high five fouls, but his positive effect on the game far outweighed his foul situation.
To put “The Gooden Effect” into context, he was not nearly the player in the Chicago series as he was in game 1 against Indiana. Not even close. Gooden’s stats from the quarterfinal series with the Bulls are hardly a fraction of the damage he did against the Pacers on Monday.
In five games against Chicago, Gooden totaled two points and three rebounds. TOTAL. That’s an average of 0.4 points and 0.6 rebounds a game — statistics you might normally expect from a player which typically plays during garbage time of a blowout.
Needless to say, the Indiana Pacers can count on seeing more of Drew Gooden after his performance help Washington sprint to a 1-0 series lead. And audiences across the world can surely imagine Wizards head coach Randy Wittman will throw Gooden into each remaining game early and, potentially, often.
If game 1 is any indication, more is to come from Gooden. Unless the Pacers have anything to say about it.
Tags: Drew Gooden