Few people picked the Washington Wizards to win their first-round series against the Chicago Bulls, but after a convincing 4-1 series victory, opinions have shifted heading into a conference semifinals matchup with the Indiana Pacers.
John Wall and Bradley Beal had to work for their points against Chicago, but in the end the backcourt duo combined with Nene to give head coach Randy Wittman a dangerous attack that might make this a bit different than the 2-1 regular-season series won by Indiana. The Pacers had 93-73 and 93-66 wins against Washington in the regular season before most recently falling to the Wizards 91-78.
The Wizards now have a swagger about them, and the Pacers are coming off a seven-game series that could be viewed as either draining or rejuvenating. The Atlanta Hawks were a bad matchup for Frank Vogel's team; that, we know. But Indiana wasn't sluggish in its Game 7 win. Perhaps Indiana was successfully shaking off all the bad mojo that had developed over a pressure-packed regular season. Roy Hibbert certainly needed seven games to gain any bit of traction. If it's back to basketball, the Pacers still might be the favorite.
TV schedule: 7 p.m. ET, TNT
Radio: FM 107.5, AM 1070 The Fan, Pacers Radio Network