The Washington Wizards will be hoping to square the Eastern Conference second round series against the Indiana Pacers at the Verizon Centre on Thursday night.
The Pacers are leading the series 3-2 and they can close out the Eastern Conference semifinals in the sixth game to get some rest before playing the defending champions Miami Heat in the conference finals. Washington, after avoiding elimination in the fifth game, will be aiming to take the game to the decider.
Marcin Gortat and John Wall played a crucial role for the Wizards by scoring 31 and 27 points, respectively in the last encounter. The Wizards need a similar effort from Wall, who also had five assists and five rebounds, to stay alive in the competition.
"For the first time in 102, 103 games that we had this season, I seen this guy that didn't want to talk to anybody," Gortat said about Wall. "He didn't want to interact with anybody. He didn't rap before the game. He didn't laugh before the game.
"I guess it's just a lot of things around basketball that has influence on him. ... But at the end of the day, I'm with him. End of the day, I'm going to jump in the fire behind this guy."
Wall is back in form after the first four terrible games when the postseason pressure got to him. Washington's coach Randy Wittman said he asked Wall to play aggressively and leave the late-game jitters behind.
"You go out there and play as aggressive as you can at both ends of the floor and don't worry about mistakes, and don't worry about made or missed shots," Wittman said. "You've got to be aggressive. When he's tentative that's not John."
The Pacers will be targeting Wall in the sixth game to prevent him from scoring freely. "John actually hit some shots and things like that," Indiana's George Hill said. "As a guard I've got to get better and try to make it tough on him again, and not let him get off like that."
The Wizards have struggled at home this season and won just once in the playoffs at the Verizon Center. "Everybody knows how we play at home. Quite honestly, we struggle at home," Gortat said. "It's going to be huge pressure."
Where to Watch Live
The game is scheduled for an 8:00 pm ET (5:30 am IST, 12:00 am GMT) start, with live coverage on Sony Six and Sony Six HD in India. The game can be watched via live streaming option HERE. The game can be live streamed by international viewers, including India, HERE.