How the Wizards Can Advance
*Photo via Washington Post
5 keys to Washington beating Atlanta! Starting Sunday May 3rd on ABC, the Washington Wizards will begin their second round matchup in the Eastern Conference against the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks have home court advantage in this series as both teams will look to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in over 40 years. The Atlanta Hawks won the season series 3-1. The Washington Wizards have a shot to win the series, but these five things must happen in order for them to win: 1. Bradley Beal.
Beal is arguably the Wizards second best player after John Wall. Bradley Beal averaged 20.8 points against the Raptors, but shot just 37.2 percent from the field. He needs to be more efficient against these Hawks, who play exceptionally well on the offensive end. If Bradley Beal shoots poorly in this series, the Atlanta Hawks will win. 2. The Washington big men.
In order for the Wizards to win this series Marcin Gortat and Nene are going to have to outplay Al Horford and Paul Millsap. The Wizards’ big men destroyed the Toronto Raptors' big men as they out-rebounded them every single game. However, this will not be the case as Millsap and Horford are very skilled, and can rebound the basketball. If the Wizards can keep the Hawks big men off the boards, then they have a legit shot to win the series. 3. Point guard play.
John Wall had it easy in the first round as he went up against Kyle Lowry who, in kind words, did not show up. Jeff Teague is a great young point guard, and although he had some off games against the Brooklyn Nets, it still will be a matchup to keep an eye onl. Wall is going to have to play well defensively because Teague is a crucial part of the Atlanta offense and once it gets going it is difficult to stop. 4. Three-point shooting.
The Wizards must defend the three. The Hawks, led by sharpshooter Kyle Korver, who is a deadly three point shooter, and he can score in bunches. The Wizards must be able to stop them from knocking them down . The Hawks made 13 threes in a close out game against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday. The Wizards need to limit the threes if they hope to advance. 5. Defense.
The Hawks run a San Antonio-type offense where they move the ball around before knocking down a shot. They pass up good shots for better shots and the Wizards defensive awareness needs to be high in order to keep up with the Hawks. Beal averaged one and a half steals against the Raptors, and must continue the defensive intensity in order for the Wizards to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. With all this said, this should be an entertaining series that could go seven games. It will be interesting to see how the Wizards come out tomorrow after all the rest they had. Tune in for Game one, Sunday on ABC.