Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images
Wizards visit Hawks in search of third straight win
With one game down on a four-game road trip after a Monday night victory in New York, the Wizards (10-14) will make their first trip to Atlanta this season to take on the Hawks (5-19) on Wednesday. Washington now has back-to-back wins heading into the game, while Atlanta is on a three-game losing streak.
The Wizards will be without John Wall, who is missing the game for personal reasons. Washington will need to put together a strong performance without their five-time All-Star.
Wednesday’s game will be the first meeting between the Wizards and Hawks. One of the youngest teams in the league, Atlanta has struggled with consistency but still possesses enough firepower to not be overlooked as Washington looks to start a winning streak.
State Farm Arena | 7:30 P.M. | NBC Sports Washington | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Austin Rivers, G – Bradley Beal, G/F – Tomas Satoransky, F – Otto Porter Jr., C – Thomas Bryant
Hawks: G – Trae Young, G – Kent Bazemore, F – Kevin Huerter, F – John Collins, C – Dewayne Dedmon
Wizards: Dwight Howard (L4-L5 lumbar microdiscectomy procedure – out), John Wall (personal - out), Jeff Green (back - out)
Hawks: Taurean Prince (left ankle – out), Dewayne Dedmon (flu-like symptoms – probable), Jeremy Lin (left ankle sprain – probable), Alex Poythress (left ankle contusion – out)
Atlanta is a long way away from returning to the top of the East, but the style it’s adapted with their growing young nucleus is one that pushes the pace and lets it fly from 3-point range. On nights where shots are falling, that makes the Hawks a dangerous team regardless of experience. The Hawks take the fourth-most 3-point shots per game in the NBA (35), but only hit 31.3%, the second-worst mark in the league.
Speaking of pace, the Hawks average the highest in the NBA so far this season at over 106 possessions per game. The Wizards aren’t far behind in that regard, averaging just over 103 (sixth highest in the NBA). Wednesday night’s game is going to be played at a high tempo, and it will come down to which team can execute best. As a veteran team with proven playmakers, Washington should like their chances.
Defense to offense
It’s been talked about ad nauseam this season, but forcing mistakes and using them to create offense has been a pillar of the Wizards’ success when they’ve been at their best. Atlanta is a prime candidate for Washington to take advantage of, as the Hawks allow a league-worst 22.6 points per game off of turnovers. It should come as no surprise that Atlanta also turns the ball over at a league-worst clip at 18.2 per game, nearly two full turnovers more than the 29th-ranked Phoenix Suns. Even without John Wall tonight, this could be transition looks aplenty for the likes of Bradley Beal, Austin Rivers, Kelly Oubre Jr. (who hit a career-high five 3-pointers in New York), and others.
Know your opponent
Five players who will be active for Wednesday’s game average double-figure scoring, with forward John Collins leading the way with 15.9 points and just over 7.2 rebounds per game. The name most will be watching on the night, rookie point guard Trae Young, leads the team in assists with 7.4 per game and also is scoring 15.8 points per game. Veteran guards Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Lin as well as center Alex Len round out the main scorers for Atlanta.
While Atlanta is capable of getting it going offensively, they’re allowing a league-worst 117.7 points per game. And while their defensive rating for the season is only 23rd in the NBA, their net rating of -10.0 is 29th. Their turnover numbers are a main culprit of the low rankings, but the Wizards will look to attack early and often to put their early-game woes behind them and start to build a winning streak on the road.