John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards battle Paul George, Myles Turner and the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
WASHINGTON WIZARDS at INDIANA PACERS
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Tip-off: 7 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Three things to watch...
Season series comes to a close
After the Wizards beat the Pacers on Saturday night at the Verizon Center, center Marcin Gortat looked ahead to Thursday's matchup and described it as a "very tough situation." He went on to explain how not only were they seeing the Pacers twice in a short period of time, just six days, but that the second meeting would be the series finale between the teams. He knew that the Pacers would come back even more motivated than usual to tie up the season series and not let the Wizards take a 3-1 advantage.
That record is important because if the Wizards win on Thursday and move to 3-1 vs. Indiana, they will hold a tiebreaker for playoff seeding. Right now the Wizards are third in the East, while the Pacers are sixth and just 4 1/2 games behind them. Seeding could be very important for this basic reason: finishing in the top three would likely mean avoiding the Cavaliers until the Eastern Conference Fnals.
The Wizards continue to light up the scoreboard, having put up 100 points or more in 21 straight games after their dismantling of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night. That 21-game streak is the longest in franchise history since 1989 and only 10 other teams have accomplished the feat this century, since the year 2000.
If they can score 100 on Thursday against Indiana, the Wizards will match the longest such streak in Scott Brooks' coaching career. The longest for him is 22 games, set back in 2015 with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Brooks coached some very good teams in OKC that featured superstars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, all current MVP candidates who are in the top nine of NBA scoring right now. Yet Brooks' current Wizards team is averaging more points (108) per game than any of his teams in Oklahoma City ever did.
Going out on a high note
Regardless of what happens on Thursday night in Indiana, their final game before All-Star weekend, the Wizards will feel good about themselves heading into the break. They have turned their season all the way around, sit 33-21 overall and third in their conference. With Kevin Love's injury keeping him out of the Cavs' lineup for six weeks, the idea of the Wizards going on a run at the top seed in March does not seem far-fetched.
If the Wizards win on Thursday, they will be 13 games above .500 for the first time since Feb. 9 of 2015. They have won 17 of their last 20. A win against the Pacers would be a nice end to an impressive first part of the season for Washington.