Men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.
While often used improperly, the old adage range true when describing Game 5 of Wizards-Pacers. While Marcin Gortat and John Wall were clearly the two best players on the floor tonight, combining for 58 points, but rebounds were the key to this game and the Pacers came up extremely short in the category.
When the final buzzer rang, the Pacers grabbed a total of 23 rebounds. Opposite of them the Wizards grabbed 63 rebounds. The gap? A 39 rebound difference. When digging into the individual numbers, David West grabbed a team-high 6 rebounds. Starting center Roy Hibbert pulled down two rebounds in 25 minutes played. For comparison, in a fraction of the minutes Hibbert played, seldom-used forward Lavoy Allen grabbed four rebounds, a tie for second most on the team with Evan Turner.
A rebound gap has this large hasn’t happened since the early 1990s when the then-Charlotte Hornets were out rebounded 75-35 by the New York Knicks according to basketball-reference. The biggest rebound gap since the 1986 season belongs, ironically, the Indiana Pacers who out-rebounded the Los Angeles Clippers 74-33 in 1989.
It’s not fair to downplay the Pacers poor effort. With their playoff lives on the line the Washington Wizards stepped up and did what they had to do. But night’s like this remind us all why the Pacers have become the most talked about team this postseason. Wildly inconsistent. Consistently bad on offense. Etc. Etc. Up 3-2 over the Wizards, there’s a chance they end this series by Game 6, but this isn’t a good look. There’s no guarantee the good Pacers show up. We’ll see though.