Pacers beat Wizards, book playoff date with Miami
George Hill (L), David West (C) and Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers celebrate their win over the Washington Wizards during Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center on May 15, 2014 in Washington, DC - by Rob Carr
Indiana's David West scored a game-high 29 points and sparked a decisive fourth-quarter Pacers run after the Wizards had erased a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
"It was all David West," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "He settled us down, made a couple of big baskets. He has a way of settling our guys down and riding the waves of emotion in a game that has so many ups and downs.
"He has just got incredible will. When the game was getting tough, he was going to step up and do whatever it took to get the job done."
The Pacers defeated Washington four games to two in their second-round best-of-seven matchup and advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the second year in a row. They will face a rematch with the Heat to decide a berth in next month's NBA Finals.
"We are going to trust who we are," West said. "We have never lost our confidence in our ability to beat tough basketball teams."
The Heat beat the Pacers in seven games in last year's Eastern Conference final on the way to a second consecutive NBA crown.
"We're ready to go," Vogel said. "I like the way we played in this series. We have nothing but the utmost respect for the champs. We're happy to have another crack at them."
After being out-rebounded by the worst margin of any NBA playoff game since 1960 in game five and suffering the most lopsided defeat by any home team in a clinching position since 1948, the Pacers took out their frustrations on the Wizards in game six.
"No question about it. We played very poorly in game five. Nobody was happy about it. They played angry," Vogel said.
"I was adamant the way we played in game five was unacceptable. We expect more and we showed it."
Washington's Bradley Beal hit a three-pointer to cap a 19-4 run and give the Wizards their first lead since the opening minutes at 74-73.
But Indiana responded by scoring 17 of the next 19 points, surging to a 90-76 advantage to put the game out of reach.
"We just couldn't maintain that momentum," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said.
- 'We couldn't lose this' -
West scored all eight of his fourth-quarter points in the decisive Pacers run, hitting 13 of a playoff career-high 26 shots for the game.
"I wasn't going to leave anything in the clip," West said. "I had to be beyond what I'm usually out there to do.
"I wanted it on my shoulders down the stretch. We couldn't lose this game. This was our game seven.
"We knew they would make a run, take that lead, but we ultimately kept our composure, played with poise and won the game."
Wittman could only tip his hat to West.
"David West made some big shots," said Wittman. "Whenever they needed a momentum-buster he made the shot. That's what great players do. He was huge for them."
Lance Stephenson added 17 points, while Paul George netted 12 and Roy Hibbert and George Hill each scored 11 points for the Pacers.
Washington, which has not reached the conference finals in 35 years, was led by 19 points from Polish center Marcin Gortat, 16 from Beal and 15 from Brazilian forward Nene.