Pacers looking to fend off Wizards resurgence
After the Pacers' second-biggest home playoff loss in franchise history, Coach Frank Vogel told Eyewitness Sports, "I don't mind if our guys carry a little bit of a bad taste in their mouth" into game 6.
Indiana lost 102-79 to the Washington Wizards at Bankers Life Fieldhouse Tuesday night. Instead of closing out the Eastern Conference semifinals, as many fans expected, the loss cast doubts on the Pacers, who struggled during the second half of the regular season. They've also struggled through the postseason.
"I need to bring more effort...I'm going to be a different Roy from what you saw last night," Roy Hibbert promised during Wednesday's practice.
The series goes back to Washington, D.C. for game six Thursday with the Pacers leading 3-2.
The Wizards avoided elimination Tuesday with a 23-point win in which John Wall broke out of series-long slump.
Washington coach Randy Wittman says he told Wall before the game: "You've got to be aggressive.' When he's tentative, that's not John."
Now the Wizards need to figure out how to win at home. They are 5-1 on the road in this year's playoffs and just 1-3 at the Verizon Center.
Says center Marcin Gortat: "Everybody knows how we play at home. Quite honestly, we struggle at home. It's going to be huge pressure."
No one outplayed the Pacers more than Wizards center Marcin Gortat, who matched his career-high with 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Gortat shot 13-of-15. Perhaps his performance was inspired by a Pacers fan, who shouted out the first few words of the Polish national anthem during pregame warm ups. Gortat finished the line, then played the game of his career.