PREVIEW: Indiana Pacers look to continue mastery of Washington Wizards

Mar 26, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon (7) scores during the fourth quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers are seeking their first three-game winning streak of the season since opening the campaign with three straight victories when they visit the Washington Wizards on Monday.

Malcolm Brogdon drained six of Indiana’s franchise high-tying 20 3-pointers in a 109-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday. Brogdon finished with 22 points and Domantas Sabonis collected 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Pacers, who saw six players score in double figures.

“It just shows that we have a lot of weapons. It shows that we’re sharing the ball, everyone’s having fun. We just have more pace to us,” Sabonis said of Indiana’s balanced offensive attack.

While Myles Turner fell one point short of double digits, the Dallas native made a profound impact against his hometown team at the other end of the court. He registered seven blocks, marking the third time this season he has recorded at least that many.

“I have the highest impact defensively in the league. When I’m out there, things change a lot. When I’m not, it’s obvious,” said Turner, who averages an NBA-best 3.5 blocks per game. “… I don’t have to score to impact the game. I know where I leave my mark.”

A strong defensive effort would be a welcome sight against Wizards star Bradley Beal, who averages an NBA-best 31.3 points per game.

Related: NBA Power Rankings – Update heading into the conference finals

Beal, however, exited Washington’s 106-92 win over Detroit on Saturday with a bruised hip. He entered the game nursing a sore right foot.

“I’ve been around a lot of guys that can bounce back, and he might be one of the best ones,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of Beal. “We’ll see how he feels (Sunday) and then make the decision come next game.”

Clouding the picture just a touch more is the fact that Washington is playing the front end of a back-to-back set on Monday. The Wizards host the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday.

Russell Westbrook registered his NBA-best 15th triple-double this season after collecting 19 points, a season-high 19 rebounds and 10 assists to send Washington to its second win in 10 games. Westbrook’s 15 triple-doubles have him tied with Darrell Walker for the career franchise record. Westbrook has played in 37 games with the Wizards, while Walker took the court in 283 games for the then-Washington Bullets from 1987-1991.

Related: NBA playoff predictions – Bracket picks & Finals champion

Daniel Gafford enjoyed an impressive debut with the Wizards after being acquired in a three-way trade with the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics. Gafford scored 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting. He also had five rebounds and three blocks in 14 minutes of playing time.

“This is what he does,” Brooks said. “He has great bounce. We got a lob threat. We can throw it up in the air. We can throw a bad pass and he has the ability to go out and extend and get it. He has great hands, he finishes around (the rim), he can block some shots, he can alter some shots. He had a fantastic game.”

Monday’s contest marks the first of three meetings between the teams. Indiana won both encounters last season and five of the last six overall.

–Field Level Media

Related: Hungry for more NBA news? Tap here for the hottest headlines breaking right now.