If the Atlanta Hawks want to keep their NBA Playoff hopes alive, these are the type of games that the team needs to win. The task won’t be easy against a talented Washington Wizards team led by their stud point guard John Wall, but a win is definitely attainable.
Even with the huge victory over the Indiana Pacers last night, the Wizards have only won two of their last six games, and one of them was against the terrible Los Angeles Lakers. Atlanta may come in on a five-game losing streak of their own, but this doesn’t mean the team can’t pull through tonight. With the exception of the Minnesota Timberwolves game, the Hawks competed in every single contest until the end. They might not have walked off the court with a win, but they showed coach Mike Budenholzer that they still care.
The players could have easily thrown in the towel a long time ago due to all the injuries Atlanta has sustained this season. However, instead of giving up, the Hawks continue to field a team that wants to fight. Tonight, they will need to show this same fight if they want beat the Wizards on their home floor.
Washington can easily be beaten, but only if Atlanta gives it their all on both ends of the floor. If the Hawks can hold the Wizards under 100 points, this should give them their best chance at victory. Atlanta can’t match Washington point for point in this game without Kyle Korver in the lineup. The 3-point specialist is a vital piece to the team’s success on offense and without him, it will be hard to reach the 100-point mark. This means all the focus needs to turn to the defensive end. It will be hard to stop the Wizards if DeMarre Carroll is unable to go due to an illness, but it can be done.
The key for the Hawks will be to try and contain Wall. Jeff Teague is not the best defender in the league, but if he can just limit the production of the Wizards’ point guard, Atlanta has a great chance of ending their losing streak. Wall has the ability to go off at any moment, and that is something the Hawks must avoid tonight. When the young star starts to get going, there is no stopping him or the Washington offense. The job won’t be easy for Atlanta, but now is the time to step up if this team wants to make the playoffs.