While the drama intensifies between the Wizards and Pacers gains entering Thursday’s Game 6, the situation remains the same.
“All they have to do is win one and the series is over,” John Wall said before the Wizards shootaround on Thursday morning. “If we win one, we get an opportunity to go to a Game 7.”
The Pacers have no desire for that scenario taking place.
“We let one opportunity go,” Indiana forward Paul George said while sitting courtside after the Pacers’ workout and moments before the Wizards took over the main court. “We’ve got another chance to end a team and get some rest and really lock into our next opponent.”
That missed opportunity came in Tuesday’s 102-79 home loss. Washington dominated the game and the glass, outrebounding Indiana 62-23.
“We can’t let [another] one slip away and rely on a Game 7 where the opponent is very comfortable in our arena,” George continued. “We’ve got to get the job done tonight.”
The Wizards have won two of three games this series in Indiana and have a 5-1 road record in the postseason. That’s the good news. At home, Washington is 1-3 at the Verizon Center during the postseason with the last two losses coming against Indiana. In Game 3, the Wizards scored a franchise-low 63 points. In Game 4, they let a 19-point, second-half lead slip away.
Moments after Tuesday’s stunning victory in Indianapolis, center Marcin Gortat stated – with a laugh – that "It sounds crazy, but it's unfortunate we have to play at home." The big man made a similar statement Thursday morning.
“From our perspective it would be better because we play better on the road,” said Gortat, who had 31 points and 16 rebounds in Game 5 after tallying two and three in Game 4 at home. “But for our fans, I’m glad we have, it at home.”
Regardless, Frank Vogel coach isn’t buying into a past is prologue scenario.
“I don’t think it matters at this point,” Indiana’s coach said about Washington’s past home struggles. “It’s Game 6 in the playoffs. I think both teams will be at their best. I don’t think it matters what they’ve done in the best.”
Wall concurs simply because nobody has been able to predict outcomes or flow from the game to game this series.
“Every game is different,” Washington’s point guard said. “We know they’re going to play better tonight. They know they want to get this series over with. We know they’re going to come and try to make shots. If we play the right we feel we have the opportunity to win the game like we did in Game 5, but won’t say it will be the same kind of fashion.”