It's time to go for the kill.
After a wonderful weekend in Washington, D.C., the Pacers return home to host the Wizards in Game 5 on Tuesday in what will be the first of three chances to close out the series and advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
The spectacular comeback win in Game 4, filled with too many turnovers and not enough bench support which created a 19-point hole, showed once again how the Pacers can battle when their backs are against the wall. The big deficit put them in the comfortable role of being the hunter instead of the hunted.
The Pacers appear over the hump of being able to play high-level, playoff basketball. Regardless of the path, their hopes and aspirations for this season, to compete for a championship, remain intact.
Now it is time to take the next step, play strong as the lead dog and come into Game 5 with a killer mindset to finish off the Wizards. As Frank Vogel mentioned after Game 5, prior playoff battles favor the Pacers, while the Wizards are going through the process for the first time as a group.
"I think experience in the playoffs gives you confidence," Vogel said. "Having been there gives you confidence. Not just overall experience, but experience as a group. This group has been there. They (Washington) have an incredible young nucleus and veterans who've been in the playoffs, but they haven't all been together as a unit.''
Those words may have been some subtle gamesmanship from Vogel. After the feeling the brunt of the weekend ambush by the Pacers, the Wizards have to be feeling inferior as they return to Indiana.
Confidence is a crazy thing and the Pacers can't risk a poor showing in Game 5 to give the Wizards any life and hope. A championship contender takes care of business in Game 5.
We'll see where the Pacers stand late Tuesday evening.
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