INDIANAPOLIS — The Wizards and the Pacers both wrapped up four games in five days on Saturday night, and had played overtime games three days ago.
As the game went on Saturday night it looked to be heading toward overtime, but the Pacers' offense got cold late in the fourth and the Wizards survived a late run to take a 97-90 win at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
John Wall led Washington's balanced offense with 18 points and Nene added 17, scoring 12 of which came in the first quarter.
The first quarter proved to be the key for the Wizards. Washington jumped out to an early lead, going up 32-14 first quarter.
"Nene came out inspired in that first quarter," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "He really got us going from an offensive stand point. I think he was determined to come out (and play well). He was upset with his play last night and he gave us those 15 (points) to start and then he facilitated for us and got other guys involved."
Marcin Gortat got into early foul trouble and had limited playing time, but managed to score 12 points. Paul Pierce also scored 12 points, while Kevin Serephin came off the bench to score 13.
Washington (5-2) bounced back from Friday night's 19-point loss to Toronto.
"You've got to be able to respond after a poor performance, which we had last night," Wittman said. "The number one thing is how do you respond after a (bad) game? I thought our guys were focused, came out right from the start and got us off to a great start."
After the dominating first quarter, Washington kept the pressure on to take 54-35 halftime lead.
Then Solomon Hill scored 12 of his career-high 28 points in the third quarter. The Pacers outscored Washington 30-19 and got as close as six. They closed to 81-78 with 8:17 to go, but the Pacers went cold over the next 5 minutes, shooting just 2 of 10.
"My teammates found me," Hill said. "But we didn't get the (win). You can put up as many points as possible and if you don't get the win, it kind of really doesn't matter."
Washington earned its first regular season victory at Indiana since 2007, snapping an 11-game streak.
"I think we just have to learn how to develop a killer instinct and take the life away from them," Wall said. "We gave them opportunities. Coach Vogel does a great job coaching those guys and no matter how much they're down they're going to keep fighting."
The Pacers (1-6) match their worst start since the 1993-94 season. The worst start in team history was 1-11 in the 1988-89 season.
With less than a minute to play Roy Hibbert left the game with a bruised left knee. He did not return. It was unclear how he was injured. He had four points and three rebounds when he left.
Wizards: Washington won the turnover battle, 18-14, forcing 10 in the first quarter and committing none. They scored 22 points off the turnovers. . Washington outscored the Pacers 48-34 in the paint.
Pacers: Indiana received a hardship exemption, allowing it to sign A.J. Price on Thursday. The hardship permits the roster to grow to 16, but they only dressed 10 against the Wizards. The Pacers held the Wizards' starters to just two point in the second quarter.
Wizards: Host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.
Pacers: Host the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
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