The Atlanta Hawks had a dreadful performance in their last game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and tonight the Hawks face the Washington Wizards at home. Atlanta needs a bounce back game from a number of their top performers, especially Al Horford. Horford did not produce for the Hawks against the Thunder. For someone who has been consistent all year, Horford struggled to score from both the mid-range and down low. Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins need to be given credit for the job both of them did on the defensive end of the court. Horford recorded a season-low seven points because of the play from Ibaka and Perkins. He may have had ten rebounds in the game, but he had seven points and ten rebounds at halftime. It’s almost unheard of in the NBA for a starter to not record a single rebound or point in a half unless that player has been benched. If the Hawks want to win tonight Horford cannot turn in the same type of performance against the Wizards.
Horford was not the only one who had a bad game. The entire team had an atrocious night shooting the basketball and finishing at the rim. In fact, the Hawks had their worst offensive performance of the year by shooting only 35.6 percent in the loss. Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, and Jeff Teague all struggled shooting the ball. Korver went 4-for-10 from the field but only went 1-for-6 from the three-point line. Teague, despite scoring 17 points, was 5-for-15 from field. The only one that had an excuse for not shooting that well was Carroll. He had the daunting task of guarding one of the best players in the game, Kevin Durant. Carroll’s effort on the defensive end made him exert most of his energy which in turn caused a lack of production on offense. The only bright spots from the last game were Paul Millsap and Shelvin Mack. Millsap recorded a double-double in another impressive performance, and Mack was unbelievable off the bench. He almost led the charge for the Hawks to possibly win late in the game because of his shooting.
I believe Millsap will bring his A-game tonight, but will the rest of the Hawks? Horford cannot have another letdown game if the Hawks want to win. The Wizards should be no match for Horford down low, but I said that last time against the Thunder. He has to step up in this game and become the dominant force down low I’ve seen before. Horford is the former NBA All-Star on this team, and he needs to act like one against the Wizards tonight. When he is at the top of his game, so are the Hawks. As for the rest of the Hawks, Teague and Korver must be the players they were before that last game. If those two get back to their level of play the Wizards have no chance tonight.
The Hawks currently claim the three seed in the East, but the Wizards are not too far behind. Atlanta must win tonight if the team wants to continue to hold onto their current playoff position. As long as the offense bounces back, I believe the Hawks will win this game.