The Indiana Pacers wanted to earn the best record in the NBA’s Eastern Conference this season so that they could host a Game 7 if they faced the defending NBA champion Miami Heat.
The Pacers might yet get to use that home-court advantage against Miami.
Indiana beat Washington 93-80 on Thursday night to finish off the pesky Wizards and win their Eastern Conference semifinals series 4-2.
The Heat await, having disposed of the Brooklyn Nets 4-1 in their semifinal series. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals is at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
David West led the Pacers with 29 points in Thursday’s game. All five Pacers starters scored in
double figures. Lance Stephenson added 17, Paul George scored 12, and George Hill and Roy Hibbert added 11 each.
Marcin Gortat led Washington with 19 points.
The Wizards led 8-7 when the Pacers scored on a field goal by David West with 8:52 left in the opening quarter. Indiana never trailed again until the final quarter. The lead grew to as many as seven points in the first period.
The Pacers took their first 10-point lead when C.J. Watson hit two free throws with 8:37 left in the first half to put Indiana up 37-27.
The Pacers built the lead to as much as 15 before halftime and led 52-40 at the break.
The lead swelled to 16 points in the third quarter. But Washington, led by John Wall, battled back, cutting the lead to seven at 58-51 with 7:47 left in the third quarter.
The Wizards got to within six late in the period, but the Pacers held on to a 71-63 lead going into the final quarter.