Early foul trouble put Reggie Miller on the bench where he couldn't hurt Washington. When the fourth quarter began it was Miller's time.
Miller's three-point play began Indiana's 15-0 burst at the start of the period that sparked the Pacers past the Washington Wizards 90-86 Monday night.
Indiana's leading scorer picked up two fouls in the opening four minutes and had only four points in the first half when he played just 10 minutes.
Miller scored nine of his 18 points in the final period. Washington missed its first five shots and had three turnovers before Rod Strickland's jumper with 7:34 left
"Our defense really stepped up," Miller said. "We knew they were going to go to Juwan (Howard) and (Mitch) Richmond down the stretch. We did a good job of getting to Juwan early and he made a couple of ill-advised passes that we got. We got some easy baskets and stretched the lead."
Richmond scored a season-high 35 points for the Wizards, who took a 63-58 lead into the fourth quarter. He made 14 of 22 shots.
"He's one of the, if not the best two-guards in the league. He came make them from all angles, especially down in the post," Miller said.
After Miller's three-point play, Antonio Davis put back a rebound of his missed shot and Sam Perkins scored on a drive to give Indiana its first lead since late in the opening quarter.
Travis Best, Perkins, Miller and Jalen Rose added baskets as the Pacers opened a 73-63 lead. Richmond then responded with the Wizards' next 14 points to make it close.
"We knew coming in that we could play with this team," Richmond said. "You look back at the games that we played them, we outplayed them for three quarters. In the fourth quarter they outplayed us. ... They were the aggressors."
Washington, which lost to Indiana for the seventh consecutive time hurt itself in the closing minutes by missing free throws.
With Indiana leading 84-79, Calbert Cheaney missed two attempts with 2:05 to go. Ben Wallace, who was 2-of-9 from the foul line, made one of two with 1:55 remaining, and Washington pulled to 84-82 on Juwan Howard's tip-in with 1:23 left.
"We came up with big stops in the stretch," Miller said.
A driving layup by Dale Davis put Indiana ahead by four, but Otis Thorpe responded by making two free throws for Washington. And with 34 seconds to go, a tip by Howard made the score 88-86.
Rose made two free throws with 4.3 seconds remaining to cap the scoring after Richmond threw up an airball.
"I know I got him on the arm," Richmond said of his last shot. "Maybe I should have taken it all the way and tried to create something. ... When I rose up, I felt I had a good look at the basket. ... They didn't make the call."
Rik Smits scored 14 for Indiana, while Chris Mullin and Rose chipped in with 12. Thorpe and Strickland scored 14 apiece for Washington.
Washington led 42-38 at halftime, holding Indiana to its lowest scoring first half of the season. The Pacers shot only 33 percent (14-of-42) over the first two quarters. The score was tied at 18 after the opening period when Indiana shot 29 percent (6-of-21).
Notes: The Pacers begin a stretch of seven games within 10 days on Wednesday at Atlanta with six of the games on the road. The game was the first of five straight on the road for the Wizards. ... Washington's last victory against Indiana, which swept the three-game series this year, was on April 16, 1997. ... Washington's Chris Whitney did not play because of a coach's decision, ending his streak of 209 consecutive games. It was the seventh-longest streak among current players. ... Richmond's points were the most by any Washington player this season. ... Wallace had a career-high 14 rebounds. ... Indiana's bench outscored Washington's reserves 31-8.
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