A series made out as a strategic and slow defensive battle started off in the Washington Wizards' favor. They topped 100 points in a Game 1 win, but it's since been the slugfest that the top-seeded Indiana Pacers would like it to be. So the last two games have gone in Indiana's favor, and the 85-63 win in Game 3 was about as brutal and ugly as it gets.
Frank Vogel's team has found its swagger behind its suffocating defense that helped it earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference despite fumbling down the stretch of the regular season. The biggest turnaround in the series came from Roy Hibbert, whose offense has been dug up from the dead. But it's been his role in helping Indiana's front line in stopping the Wizards' duo of Marcin Gortat and Nene -- they scored 12 combined points on 5-for-21 shooting in Game 3 -- that was the story in Game 3 on Friday.
Yet, the more constant theme for the series has been Indiana's ability to lock down Washington point guard John Wall, who had his best scoring outing of 15 points in Game 3 but also had seven turnovers. Randy Wittman's team first might simply need to see shots go down; after that, the Wizards can worry about pumping up the tempo and helping their young point guard around Indiana's walls of defense.
TV schedule: 8 p.m. ET, TNT
Radio: 1070 The Fan, WFED-AM 1500