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Wizards take opener over Pacers

Indiana Pacers forward Luis Scola (4) drives to the basket against Washington Wizards center Drew Gooden (90) on Monday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. (USA Today Sports photo)

INDIANAPOLIS — The Washington Wizards picked a good time to end their seven-year losing streak in Indiana.

Guard Bradley Beal scored a game-high 25 points, forward Trevor Ariza converted all six 3-point shots he took and scored 22 points, and the Wizards earned a 102-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday in the opening game of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Wizards won in Indianapolis for the first time since April 2007, snapping a run of 12 consecutive defeats at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. They led by as many as 16 points Monday.

Forward Paul George and guard George Hill each scored 18 points for Indiana. Hill hit three 3-pointers in the final minute. George, who had six boards, was held under 10 rebounds for just the second time in eight playoff games this year. Forward David West added 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Pacers guard Lance Stephenson, who scored 12 points, and George shot a combined 8-for-30 from the field.

Forward Nene added 15 points for Washington. Guard John Wall scored

13, and center Marcin Gortat contributed 12 points and 15 rebounds.

The second game of the best-of-seven series will be played Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Pacers lost Game 1 at home for the second consecutive playoff series. They rallied to beat the Atlanta Hawks in the opening round, taking Game 7 on Saturday.

A five-day layoff after eliminating the Chicago Bulls in a first-round playoff series didn’t hurt the Wizards. Washington started out quickly against the Pacers, scoring the game’s first eight points. Ariza scored six of them, hitting his first two 3-pointers.

After falling behind by 14 points in the opening quarter, the Pacers answered with a 16-2 run early in the second quarter. Stephenson and guard C.J. Watson each scored five points during that stretch.

Washington went nearly three minutes without scoring and had just one basket in nearly four minutes.

The Wizards closed out the first half with a 14-4 run that put them up 56-43 at the break. Ariza hit two 3-pointers in that stretch. The Pacers went scoreless for a 5:15 span during the end of the second quarter and the beginning of the third quarter. Stephenson finally broke the drought on a basket with 8:42 left in the third quarter.

Indiana center Roy Hibbert fell into foul trouble midway through the second quarter when he was called for his third foul. Hibbert finished with no points, no rebounds, two blocked shots and two turnovers in 18 minutes.