John Wall doesn’t sound too concerned about his most recent poor shooting effort as the Washington Wizards get ready to conclude a grueling stretch.
Perhaps it’s because he has played about as well as anybody in the second half of back-to-back sets.
His Wizards have lost 12 straight regular-season games in Indianapolis, but they may like their chances of handing the reeling Indiana Pacers a sixth straight defeat Saturday night in a matchup of teams finishing stretches of four games in five nights.
Washington (4-2) had a four-game win streak snapped with Friday’s 103-84 loss at Toronto. The Wizards missed their first eight shots, fell behind by 12 points less than 5 minutes into the game and never recovered.
Wall entered averaging 21.8 points before he finished with a season-low eight on 3-of-13 shooting.
“I’ve been playing stellar this whole first five games, tonight just 3 for 13, the first three shots were airballs,” Wall said. “But my confidence and the team goes if I keep being aggressive and playing so I kept taking the shots I got, they didn’t fall.”
There’s reason to believe they will fall Saturday. He is one of three players averaging at least 30 points in the second half of back-to-back games at 30.5.
Wall’s latest such effort was a 31-point, 10-assist night Wednesday in a 96-94 overtime win over Indiana. Now he will try to win for the first time in the regular season at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where Washington went 2-1 in last season’s playoffs.
“We had four in five nights and we got another tomorrow and it’s a tough Indiana team that just took us to overtime at home and we know they’re coming for revenge at home and we want to finish in four in five nights at 3-1, that’s the best way you can do it,” Wall said.
Indiana (1-5) seeks to avoid its first six-game slide since March 2-11, 2011, and first 1-6 start since 1993-94.
Coach Frank Vogel’s injury-plagued club dressed only 10 players and used nine of them in Friday’s 101-98 loss at Boston. The latest addition to its lengthy injury list was C.J. Miles, who missed the game due to migraines.
Roy Hibbert had 22 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks to lead all five starters in double digits in points.
“In the past we were able to close out games. We’ve just got to learn how to do that again with a whole new group of people,” Hibbert said. “You kind of take that for granted sometimes — to be able to have closers out there. But I believe in this group of guys. We have to turn it around.”
Evidence of what Hibbert is talking about could be seen Wednesday. Hibbert missed a potential winning 3-pointer at the buzzer when he was supposed to set a screen to allow Chris Copeland to take the final shot.
Though Wall had a big game that night, he was unable to slow down Donald Sloan, who scored a career-high 31 points.
The Wizards’ Garrett Temple averaged 15.8 points during the club’s win streak before missing all five shots from the field and scoring three points Friday.