Indiana Pacers: Bold predictions for do-or-die game against the Wizards

Indiana Pacers vs Washington Wizards - Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Indiana Pacers vs Washington Wizards - Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports /
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Indiana Pacers
Indiana Pacers, Oshae Brissett – Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

Role players step up for the Indiana Pacers, not so much for the Washington Wizards

Probably as a result of compensating for the truckload of injuries this season, the role players for the Indiana Pacers have been significant this year. From usual suspects and the ever-reliable TJ McConnell, Doug McDermott and Justin Holiday, newcomer and upstarts Oshae Brissett and Kelan Martin, the pesky Aaron Holiday, Edmond Sumner and JaKarr Sampson, and sophomore Goga Bitadze, the Blue and Gold boast one of the deepest rosters in the association.

Despite only ranking 25th in allotted minutes per game, Indiana’s bench is 15th in scoring, third in field goal percentage and also third in assists. Overall, the second unit is tied for seventh in plus/minus. In fact, in their recent drubbing of Charlotte, the bench scored 58 points, never squandering their huge lead despite the Hornets’ mini-runs, a testament to the stability of the second-unit all season long.

Look for the Pacers’ role players to step up on the road with their survival on the line despite a shorter leash than usual. Conversely, don’t be surprised if Washington’s come up short against their bench counterparts as they only have three potent bench scorers in Ish Smith, Davis Bertans and Daniel Gafford.

Surprisingly, the Wizards bench is fifth in points per game, though it must be noted that they are first in minutes per contest. If the Pacers can limit their second unit below their 39.3 scoring average, they will have a clearer window of defeating high-octane Washington.