Sight for sore eye in D.C.


WASHINGTON -- Peering deeper through his first foray into the NBA playoffs, All-Star point guard John Wall is painfully coping with the differences between sight and vision.

His sight remains blurry.

That's the result of being raked in the right eye during the Washington Wizards ' loss Friday in Game 3 of their playoff series against the Indiana Pacers. By Saturday afternoon, Wall had met twice with a team doctor and left the practice facility wearing a medicated contact lens to treat the scratches.

Wall's vision, however, couldn't be clearer at the moment.

With the upstart Wizards now facing real adversity for the first time in these playoffs coming off the worst offensive performance in franchise history, there's not much room for error as they try to even the series entering Game 4 at home Sunday.

"We know it's a series now," Wall said Saturday of Washington's 2-1 series deficit. "We win this game, and it's a chance to put the pressure back on those guys."

How successful the Wizards will be at deflecting that pressure will depend largely on the ability of their catalyst to restore the team's preferred pace. Washington's scoring has dipped in each of the three games against Indiana, plummeting from 102 points in a Game 1 victory to 82 in a Game 2 loss before essentially flatlining in Friday's 85-63 setback that left the Wizards defeated and deflated.

As the Wizards regrouped with a film session and light workout Saturday, they gave plenty of credit to an Indiana defense that ranked among the best in the league this season for being more disruptive over the course of the series. But Washington also insisted that some of the ineptness was self-induced.

While the Wizards were easily able to overcome Wall's shooting woes and inconsistent play during a surprisingly easy five-game series win against Chicago in the first round, some of his struggles and sporadic stretches have been far more difficult to mask against the Pacers.

Through three games in this series, Wall has shot 12-for-40 (30 percent) overall from the floor and has missed all eight of his attempts from 3-point range. Turnovers have been a bigger problem over the last two games. Wall only had one in Game 2, but it came on one of the final possessions after Washington squandered a late lead en route to a four-point loss.

After placing the bulk of the blame for the loss on himself after Game 2, Wall then committed seven of Washington's 18 turnovers that were converted into 21 points by Indiana on Friday. The Wizards' struggles extended far beyond Wall in Game 3, with the team's playoff-leading scorers Bradley Beal and Nene Hilario going a combined 9-for-33 on a night the team shot just 32.9 percent from the field.

It was Beal who shouldered much of the responsibility for Washington's sluggish play Friday. One adjustment that helped Indiana regain control of the series came when the 6-foot-8 and athletic Paul George took over the assignment of chasing Beal off his comfortable shooting spots on the perimeter.

Even with a 2-1 series lead, Pacers coach Frank Vogel said putting away the Wizards will be a major challenge.

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