WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Indiana Pacers needed a late surge to keep
their momentum going.
The Pacers made three treys during a big 16-2 run in the fourth.
Johnson capped the spurt with four free throws to make it 77-71,
but Larry Hughes pulled the Wizards to 77-73 on a breakaway dunk
with 1:05 remaining.
Nonetheless, Indiana was able to hold off the rally for its
third straight win and seventh in the last 10 games.
"I think the first team that showed a sign of energy was going
to win that game," said Jackson, who savored the victory despite
shooting 0-for-9 from 3-point range. "We knew we had to make the
first run and keep it, and we were able to do that."
Washington cut the lead to 77-74 when Damone Brown made the
first of two free throws with 36.7 seconds left. Reggie Miller, who
finished with 12 points, made two free throws with 33.7 seconds
remaining to give the Pacers a 79-74 lead.
Gilbert Arenas' layup pulled the Wizards to 79-76 with 28.1
seconds left. Brown missed a potential tying 3-pointer at the
"I looked at all the options and I was open, so I took it,"
Brown said. "The shot felt good."
Though the Pacers were outscored 36-18 in the paint, they found
a way to win.
"Right now, every game for us is a playoff-type atmosphere,"
Miller said. "We're trying to obviously better ourselves and move
up in the standings. We're doing a lot of scoreboard watching as
well, but we've got to continue to win ballgames and get better."
Arenas had 22 points to lead the Wizards. Larry Hughes added 12
points and eight rebounds, and Kwame Brown had 12 points and eight
"He was really hurting today," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said
of Hughes, who has a sprained left elbow. "He is a warrior and he
thought that he could play. I had to make a judgment call whether
he was helping us or hurting us. He tied us for (team-high)
rebounds with one arm."
Hughes, who shot 0-for-7 in the first half, made his first field
goal midway through the third quarter on a tip-in of Arenas' missed
layup that gave the Wizards a 45-37 lead. Hughes, the league leader
in steals, started the play with a steal.
"It's sore," Hughes said of his elbow. "It bothered me, and I
knew it would, so I was prepared to play through the pain. ... I'll
be ready to play the next game."
The loss denied the Wizards a chance to secure their first
winning season since 1997-98 when they went 42-40. The setback also
put Eddie Jordan's 100th career victory on hold and dropped
Washington into a tie with Chicago for fourth place in the Eastern
Conference playoff chase.
"There are 10 games left and there is a lot of talk about the
homecourt fourth seed, but we are really just playing to win,"
The Wizards built a 13-point lead in the third quarter but James
Jones pulled the Pacers to 59-53 on a 3-pointer late in the period.
Indiana's Eddie Gill opened the fourth quarter with back-to-back
3-pointers that cut Washington's lead to 61-59.
The teams struggled to an ugly 29-29 halftime tie. It was the
Wizards' lowest scoring half of the season, beating the mark of 30
points scored at Cleveland on Jan. 24. The Wizards missed 17 of
their first 21 shots and shot 20 percent in the first quarter.
Their 11 first-quarter points matched a season-low set Nov. 13,
2004, against Cleveland.
Washington reserve guard Anthony Peeler missed the game
with a sore right knee. ... Indiana guard Fred Jones missed the
game because of a sore back. ... The Wizards, who drew only four
sellout crowds at home last year, had their 10th sellout crowd of
20,173 this season. ... Etan Thomas broke the nail on his left
thumb with 3:13 remaining in the third quarter and returned to the
game with 6:23 left.<