The Atlanta Hawks may have gotten their biggest break of the 2015 season so far. After falling behind 0-1 in the series against the Wizards, Washington point guard John Wall was unable to play Game 2 of the series as he was a last-minute scratch. On Thursday, it was announced that Wall had five fractures in his left wrist and hand and may not suit up for the rest of this series.
“Not the news you want to hear,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said following the team’s practice on Thursday. “With the swelling, we knew maybe there was not good news there. We’re still consulting with doctors. It’s still pretty swollen.” With Wall out for Game 2, Ramon Sessions did a great job filling in as Sessions played nearly 40 minutes and led Washington with 21 points on 8-14 from the field. “Just try to push the team, just like John does,” Sessions said. “It wasn’t just me. Everybody tried to step up.”
With Atlanta’s 106-90 win in Game 2 of the series, Washington was dealt their first loss of this postseason. Now with the series switching to Washington for Games 3 & 4 the Hawks have a great opportunity to wrap up this series at home in Game 5. These are the three keys for the Hawks, assuming that John Wall does not suit up. If Wall is active, the biggest key of course will be to contain him.
Slow and steady wins the game
In Atlanta’s Game 1 loss the Hawks jumped out to a 15-point lead but each quarter they were held to less and less points with an embarrassing 35-point total for the entire second half. In Game 2, Atlanta scored at least 25 points each quarter while Washington failed to keep pace in the fourth quarter as they were limited to the same 15 points Atlanta had in the first game.
One reason for the consistent point scoring was the great job the Hawks did of making their free throws. Atlanta went a combined 22-25 from the charity stripe. Seven different Hawks made at least two free throws apiece. This leads into Key # 2.
Keep sharing the ball
Nine different Hawks played in Game 2. Eight of them scored at least eight points and five of them, four starters, scored at least 10 points. Atlanta made 37 shots from the field with 30 of them coming off assists. Compare that to Washington getting 21 assists off 35 total made field goals. Atlanta also turned the ball over just 10 times compared to Washington’s 16 turnovers.
This is something that Hawks have not done well at all this series. In the two games played this series, Bradley Beal has put up 48 pointswith 83 minutes played in the first two games. The good news is that while Beal was near unstoppable in Game 1 when he scored 28 points in 40 minutes. He shot 9-22 from the field including 8-10 from the charity stripe.
In Game 2, Beal was “limited” to 20 points this time playing 43 minutes. He finished 8-22 from the field but just 2-3 from the free throw line. Beal did make two three-point shots in each game. Beal had two fewer rebounds in Game 2 but he finished with six more assists than he did in Game 1. He’s simply done a great job in all aspects of the game. If Atlanta stops him, they’ve got this series won.
Tip-off for Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. ET and will be shown on ESPN. #TrueToAtlanta