2021 NBA Play-in Tournament – Game 5 Preview
- When: May 20, 2021
- Time: 8:00 PM EST
- TV: TNT
- Where: Captial One Arena, Washington D.C.
(8) Washington Wizards
The Wizards played against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night and obviously are here. Due to their loss, they are alive for one more night unless Indiana decides that the Wizards are no more. Russell Westbrook had an easy night to forget. While he scored 20 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, he shot the ball 6-of-18 from the field (33-percent). Bradley Beal, the Wizards’ other All-Star player, chipped in with 22 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists this past Tuesday night. It wasn’t enough to overcome 50 points by Boston’s Jayson Tatum.
Moving forward to face Indiana the Wizards will still have their hands loaded. The Pacers pulled out a 144-117 victory against the Charlotte Hornets Tuesday. Westbrook will have to come out more aggressive early on for the Wizards but also shoot the ball better obviously.
While a few of us on the Shoot or Pass Podcast’s latest episode suggested the Wizards are the MOST dangerous team in the tournament we quickly want to forget the effort from Washington against the Celtics. However, with the lack of Washington’s ability to shoot the three-ball and IF Westbrook’s unable to get into a better shooting game we have to question their winning formula. Indiana isn’t a team that will lay down easy and it appears unless Washington has an overachieving game shooting the three-ball this game will be just as difficult against Indiana as Boston. My concern here is Washington playing behind early on could dictate Indiana pressing hard all game and without a doubt stealing the 8th seed from the Wizards.
(9) Indiana Pacers
I have to admit I was a little afraid of Indiana losing Caris LeVert in the Play-in Tournament week would deflate their momentum. However, a couple of honorable mentions Doug McDermott (21 points), Osahe Brissett (23 points), and T.J. McConnell (17 points) all outscored the only All-Star on this roster? That’s right Domantas Sabonis cruised to a quiet 14 points, 21 rebounds, and 9 assist against Charlotte on Tuesday. Indiana never lost their lead, ballooned the lead to as much as 39 points, and outrebounded the Hornets 54-36.
If this is a boost of confidence of a game for the Pacers then, I am intrigued to see a 9th or 10th seed attempt to “steal” the 8th seed from the Wizards. The concerning part for Washington is that the Pacers do a pretty good job defending the three. The average opponent’s three-point percentage against Indiana this season is 37-percent. The Wizards this season shoot the three-ball an average of 35-percent so that’s a huge difference-maker if the Wizards scare the Pacers with some electrifying shooting in Game 5 of the tournament.
If all signs point to the team that will have the biggest turnout from their players I have to say it will be Indiana. Eight of their players scored double-digits against the Hornets. Besides the above mentioned already the Pacers starting five shot the ball 63-percent in their big win against the Hornets. Again, I can’t stress that shooting in this game will be a huge factor and it appears to be favoring the Pacers.
Top players to watch
Domantas Sabonis: 2020-2021 Season
- 20.3 PPG
- 6.7 APG
- 12.0 RPG
- 54% FG
Russell Westbrook: 2020-2021 Season
- 22.2 PPG
- 11.7 APG
- 11.5 RPG
- 44% FG
Where should the money go?
COULD this be the BIGGEST upset brewing in the Play-in Tournament? Possibly at this rate that Indiana is performing at. I did say before the season they’d be a sneaky good team. However, injuries with T.J. Warren and Myles Turner have the Pacers competing a little lower than expected in this tournament. Otherwise, they to me are a better team than the Wizards this season.
Where do the dollar bills go tonight? Well, we have our panel of experts below to fill you in on that they’re feeling for this elimination game.
As always check out our expert daily picks too!
2021 NBA Play-in Tournament Schedule – Eastern Conference
Tuesday, May 18, 2021
Thursday, May 20, 2021