ATLANTA -- With Bradley Beal and John Wall not being anywhere close to 100% because of injuries, Paul Pierce may have to be even more assertive than usual for the Wizards. But the example that is being set by the team's young, star backcourt could have a positive impact beyond Game 2 that's being played tonight at Phillips Arena.
"Every game is different. You don't know what to expect. I'm going to continue to be aggressive when the opportunity presents itself," said Pierce, who scored seven of the Wizards' first nine in a Game 1 victory when he finished with 19. "If that's what my team needs."
Wall had his left wrist, injured in the first half Sunday, checked by two doctors. Both determined that there was no breaks in the same wrist he'd previously broken as a high school sophomore. Beal sprained his right ankle so badly it brought him to tears but he was certain 24 hours ago that he'd be on the court again because the swelling was under control.
Even though it's not his shooting hand, Wall insists it won't change the way he plays with sticking his arm in harm's way to deflect passes, grab rebounds or block shots.
"I feel like when I step out there to help the team win, I got to do it," said Wall, with adhesive bandaging covering a badly swollen hand that he couldn't open and close on Monday. "When I had ankle injuries (during the regular season) I was scared I wouldn't be able to push off certain ways on defense. When you step between those lines and suit up, you got to ... do what you got to do to win the game."
In a first-round series sweep of the Toronto Raptors, Wall injured his right shoulder after he was crunched by Greivis Vasquez during a fall. His shoulder required an MRI the next day though results proved negative. Wall played through the pain and scrambled to the floor again and again on hustle plays.
"When I'm out there, I'm out there for a reason," Wall said. "The swelling has gone down. The pain is decreasing, not increasing."
Pierce, Nene and Marcin Gortat, all much older than the 24-year-old Wall, have dealt with ailments all season. If Wall is willing to give it all, everyone must. Beal is just 21.
"He's been leading by example, showing his mental toughness," Pierce said of Wall. "The guy looks like he got a broken hand and still going out there finishing the games, still going to be out there tonight. I think a lot of the other players see that and say if he can do it, we can do it also."
Another win tonight, and that would make for a 9-1 road playoff record in the last two seasons and four in a row away from Verizon Center to begin this postseason. Other road teams are doing well in the second round, too, as the L.A. Clippers and Chicago Bulls won Game 1 road openers last night.
"We're not satisfied. Even though we won Game 1, we feel like we still haven't played our best game," Pierce said. "Those teams that don't have home-court advantage are showing a great sense of urgency, understanding the moment, the playoffs. You go in somebody else's building and down 0-2 its a tough task getting back in the series. We're trying to get Game 2 also. ... We haven't proven anything yet."