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blkbigdog35

Hawks/wizards Game 3 Thread

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Hawks-Wizards Preview





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John Wall did his best not to appear dejected when discussing his status for Game 3 against the Atlanta Hawks.


He complimented his Washington Wizards teammates for their valiant effort without him before falling short in Game 2 and still left open the possibility of playing in this contest.


But Wall knows his chances of being on the court Saturday night in Washington aren't too good as the pain caused by five non-displaced fractures in his left wrist and hand lingers.


"If the pain goes away and I can dribble and do those things, then it's all up to me if I want to take that risk to hurt my hand even more down the road," Wall said. "How competitive I am, if I'm able to be myself then there's a great percentage I will play. But if I can't be myself there's no point of going out there.


"I believe in (my teammates) 110 percent. I don't want everything to be on me."


The decision to make Wall inactive Tuesday came shortly before tipoff, as Wall struggled to complete basic drills in pregame warmups. Ramon Sessions started in his place and scored 21 points, but the Wizards couldn't keep up without their leader down the stretch and fell 106-90 as Atlanta evened this Eastern Conference semifinal series at one game apiece.


Bradley Beal, playing through a sprained ankle, finished with 20 points and seven assists as he took over the point guard duties. Wall is averaging a league-high 12.6 assists in the postseason.


"I got to rely on my teammates and act like John is there when he's not there," Beal said.


Otto Porter and Paul Pierce each added 15 points for the Wizards, who trailed the top-seeded Hawks by only five entering the fourth quarter, though they'll need an even better effort to take back the series lead if Wall can't go.


"It's the playoffs. You're going to run into problems, ups and downs, injuries," Porter said. "Our mindset and game plan is the same. Going in and playing very aggressive, very confident."


The Hawks quickly realized that Washington has more weapons than Wall, who had 18 points and 13 assists in the Wizards' 104-98 victory in Game 1 despite suffering his injury in the second quarter.


Beal also got hurt in that contest but hasn't let the injury hamper his production. Pierce is averaging 16.0 points in the playoffs and Marcin Gortat is scoring 15.2 for the Wizards, who are 5-1 in the postseason.


"It's dangerous, man," Hawks reserve Kent Bazemore said after Game 2. "Oh, their best player is not playing, so they don't have a chance. ... But they still have a very dangerous team."


Atlanta does, too. DeMarre Carroll had 22 points Tuesday, and the imposing front line of Paul Millsap and Al Horford that has helped hold Nene to no field goals in the series scored 18 apiece.


Carroll especially has elevated his game, averaging 22.0 points over the last six games after scoring 12.6 per contest during the season.


The Hawks still have their issues, though. Jeff Teague has shot 7 for 26 in the series and was outplayed by Sessions in Game 2, finishing with nine points and eight assists.


Korver shot an NBA-best 49.2 percent from 3-point range during the season, but he's 7 of 22 in this series and has shot 37.8 percent overall in the last six games.


Atlanta had the East's best road record during the season but dropped two of three at Brooklyn in the first round.


AF89 likes this

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Extremely nervous/excited for this afternoon's game. I think the winner of this game is 75% likely to go onto win the happen. especially if it's us, we need to press the advantage that we're the better team and their best player is "out".

Hopefully the 3 day rest will be just what the doctor ordered. If they cant get it going now Im not sure its going to happen

blkbigdog35 likes this

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"Point Forward" Paul Millsap Is Doing Fine Work As A Passer
millsap_15.jpg?itok=jGtDd12c
Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images
Posted: May 08, 2015

In his past three outings, Paul Millsap has had the three best assist games of his playoff career. In Game 6 against Brooklyn, he had 6 assists. In Games 1 and 2 against Washington, he has handed out 8 and 5 assists, respectively.

Passing-wise, Millsap is in a groove, and he has displayed a tremendous amount of versatility in racking up assists in the playoffs against two contrasting styles of defense.

Against the Nets, Millsap's role was to create offense as Plan B. If the Hawks' initial foray at scoring didn't work, Atlanta could kick the ball out to the corner where Paul could either shoot the three or make something happen off the dribble.

Against Washington, Millsap is still creating offense with his passes, but in a new way against a different style of defense.

To hear Jeff Teague tell it, the Wizards are hedging more when the Hawks run their pick and rolls. In that first instant of defense when Teague comes around the pick, both defenders are focusing on him, cutting off Teague's lane to drive to the rim, but at the same time, opening up the possibility of swinging the ball to an open shooter.

"It was different coming from a series where Brooklyn didn't hedge that much really," Teague said. "Brook Lopez, we put him in a lot of pick and rolls."

With Lopez dropping back to defend the paint, Teague had space to make an aggressive play toward the basket. Against the Wizards, the Hawks are facing an entirely different style of defense.

"Now with Nene, these guys can really guard," Teague added. "Paul Pierce, when he plays the 4 (power forward), he hedges really well."

One solution to combat the hedge is to have Millsap set the pick. When the defending power forward steps up to take away Teague's angle, Millsap can get the ball in a position where he is a triple threat to create offense via the shot, dribble, or pass.

"He is the point forward," Teague said. " Since they're hedging so much, we just throw it back to him and let him make plays. He has been making the right plays for us."

The regular season proved that Millsap was a true triple threat to shoot, pass or drive. He made a career-high 77 three-point shots on 35.6% shooting. Thanks to NBA.com/Stats and SportVU tracking cameras, there is data on how frequently players drive to the rim. Millsap did it a lot: he ranked third on the team with 359 drives, behind only point guards Teague (804) and Dennis Schroder (607). No other teammate had more than 174 drives.

Millsap explains that he is ready to take whatever the defense gives him.

"It's something I've been doing all year. Just making the right play," he said. "If they hedge out, I get the ball at the top of the key. I'll find my shooters, or attack the basket."

Randy Wittman, head coach of the Wizards, is the one tasked with deciding whether or not he wants to defend Millsap with a burly power forward like Nene or quicker power forwards like Pierce and Drew Gooden.

"(Millsap) is a little bit of a 'tweener," Wittman said, recognizing Millsap's versatility. "He could play some 3 (small forward) even, I think. He's a unique player. You want to keep some physicality on him too and have him feel you and not just run be able to run around and do what he wants. It's a little bit of both. Obviously, when he gets out on the perimeter, it's easier to have a smaller guy, but we also want to have somebody that is going to be physical with him too."

Expect to see Millsap guarded by both types of defenders, even as the Wizards' best offense stems from having a power forward who can step out and shoot three-point shots.

"We're reading it out and seeing what kind of lineups they throw out there," Millsap said. "Whatever lineup they have, just exploit it."

Expect to see too the Hawks utilizing Millsap as the relief valve, the player who can flip an overcommitted defense on its head through his ability to attack the rim and find open shooters.

Story by KL Chouinard

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Wall out according to Chris Vivamore. I wouldn't be surprised if he tries to give it a go later in the series though.

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Still though that's typical of our luck. Figured fate would find a way to flick us in the nose a little bit even when we catch a huge break w/ Wall being out.

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This team has literally lost it's mind...

No driving to the basket, shooting horrible shots, and when someone finally drives in for an easy lay up they either pass it back out (Teague) or miss it...

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This team has literally lost it's mind...

No driving to the basket, shooting horrible shots, and when someone finally drives in for an easy lay up they either pass it back out (Teague) or miss it...

No one wants to put the ball in the basket. Nobody on this team would do a Rose shot from last night.

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