WASHINGTON – On a night when the Washington Wizards celebrated the 35th anniversary of the franchise’s only championship, John Wall played like someone who might someday carry on that legacy, scoring 37 points in a display of speed and flair Saturday to lead the Washington Wizards to a 104-85 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
Wall made 16 of 25 shots, throwing his palms up after making an improbable 14-foot sideways runner and flexing his muscles to the fans on the first row after banking in a fast-break layup. He even blocked a layup attempt by Roy Hibbert, the 6-foot-4 point guard rising to swat the ball away from the 7-foot-2 Pacers center.
Wall also had five assists, four rebounds and two blocks for the lottery-bound Wizards, who have won nine straight at home and are 18-4 at the Verizon Center this season when he’s on the floor.
They were especially motivated to put on a good show Saturday night, with Wes Unseld, Elvin Hayes and the other members of the 1978 team on hand.
The Wizards also spoiled a title celebration for the Pacers, who failed for the second night in a row to get the win they need to clinch their first Central Division crown in nine years. Indiana also fell two games behind the New York Knicks in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
HEAT 106, 76ERS 87: In Miami, LeBron James scored 27 points in his return from a strained right hamstring, and five other Miami players reached double figures as the Heat moved closer to securing home-court advantage for the entire NBA playoffs.
NETS 105, BOBCATS 96: In New York, Deron Williams had 32 points and six assists as Brooklyn strengthened its hold on fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
TIMBERWOLVES 107, PISTONS 101: In Minneapolis, Rick Adelman became the eighth coach in NBA history to win 1,000 games as Nikola Pekovic had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead Minnesota.