Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Beal Helps Washington Upset Indiana in Series Opener

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Beal Helps Washington Upset Indiana in Series Opener

Article excerpt

The Washington Wizards keep finding ways to break through old, stubborn barriers. Even in the unlikeliest place of all Indiana.

Native St. Louisan Bradley Beal scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, Trevor Ariza added 22 and the Wizards held off the Pacers with a stout defense over the final 7 minutes Monday night to get a 102-96 win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

It was a milestone victory Washington's won a game in the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time in 32 years.

"The way I think about it, I'm 20 years old, I'm playing in the playoffs, something I've always dreamed of. Why not embrace it?" said Beal, who played at Chaminade. "Why not accept the challenge and have fun with it? That's all I'm doing having fun."

The Wizards, who entered as a 4-point underdog in the game against he Pacers who were a 2-1 favorite to win the series know there is a lot more work to do in this best-of-seven series.

Game 2 is Wednesday in Indianapolis. So far, though, things have gone well for the upstart Wizards.

After clinching their first playoff berth since 2008, the Wizards have advanced to the second round for the first time since 2005, won at Indiana for the first time since April 18, 2007, and have their first second-round win since April 28, 1982. Washington has opened these playoffs with four straight road wins and put the pressure right back on the top seed in the Eastern Conference. It doesn't get better than that for a young team that beat Chicago 4-1 in the first round.

For the Pacers, it was another kick in the pants. After salvaging their season with two straight wins to beat Atlanta in seven games, Indiana lost Game 1 for the second straight series and for many of the same reasons.

They were outrebounded 53-36 and were outscored 19-5 on second- chance points. They got beat outside as Washington made a franchise playoff-record 10 3-pointers, with Ariza going six of six. …

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