The Washington Wizards kept their season alive Tuesday in a dominant 102-79 Game 5 victory against the Indiana Pacers, sending the second-round series back to Verizon Center.
A lot went right for the Wizards, but it was big man Marcin Gortat's historic individual performance that buoyed them.
Gortat scored 31 points on 13-of-15 shooting and grabbed 16 rebounds, setting an NBA record in the process. According to Elias Sports Bureau, his 86.7 field-goal percentage is the highest in league playoff history by a player with a 30-point, 15-rebound performance. He also is the first Washington player with 30/15 in a playoff game since Moses Malone in 1987.
All this after Gortat scored six points and 13 rebounds in the previous two games combined.
"I was a decoy in Game 3 and Game 4," Gortat told reporters. "[Tuesday] was the time for me to perform. At some point in the second half, it was just fun to be in the game."
Washington put on an absolute rebounding clinic Tuesday, dominating the glass with a 62-23 advantage. It was the largest rebounding margin in a playoff game since 1971 and at one point late in the game, Gortat had more individual rebounds than the Pacers as a whole.
"We don't have anything to lose now," Gortat said. "We play desperate. At the end of the day, we might lose. We have to play every minute of every game like it's the last one of the season."
The Wizards will look to force a winner-take-all Game 7 on Thursday.
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