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Wizards surprise Pacers, survive Hawks

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The Washington Wizards defeated the Indiana Pacers 91-78 Friday then followed their big win with a 101-97 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. John Wall commanded the back-to-back homestead streak with an average of 22.5 points and 7 assists, as the 38-35 Wizards look to finish the season strong.

"We're just trying to play basketball the right way," said Wall after Saturday's game against the Hawks. "We had a bad stretch in that west coast trip and came back and lost games and then we got back on the right track. [...] We knew these two games were pretty big for us and the game on Monday is even bigger against Charlotte that's coming to try to get our sixth spot."

Washington's triumph over Indiana Friday gave the Wizards their first win against the Pacers this season, and in epic fashion. A 30-19 third quarter put Washington ahead for good in a game in which Indiana never led. Wizards forward Trevor Ariza scored all 11 of his points in the period, as he finished the game with a shaky 2-for-12 from the floor. The next night, Ariza scored a solid 13 points on 4-for-6 shooting. Unfortunately, however, the Wizards marksman would tweak his groin due to a slippery court.

"I guess the hockey game," posed Wall, regarding the state of the hardwood. "Everywhere was slippery and to be honest we were scared to make a move. The situation with Trevor [Ariza] I mean he could have torn a groin or anything. So at certain times you'd see certain guys just start to fall and slide and it was getting worse and worse so I don't know, they didn't fall the first half but we did the second half."

With the now 31-41 Hawks on their heels and a hazardous court, Wall, Ariza, and the Wizards made due. Now they'll need to assess Ariza and see what the future will bring, but having "Slam Dunk" winner Wall--a worthy "MVP" candidate this season--should get them through.

Monday Washington will visit the 35-38 Charlotte Bobcats, who are currently one spot above the Hawks at #7 in the Eastern Conference, as the Wizards sit on #6. With 9 games left, Washington is looking at their first postseason run since 2008.

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