Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks
Date and Time: Saturday, April 22, 2017, 5:30 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Wizards vs. Hawks TV Coverage: TNT
The Wizards held serve winning both games on their home floor and used their dynamic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal to secure a 2-0 lead as they head to Atlanta for Game 3. The Wizards were one of the best home court teams during the regular year posting 30 wins, but they finished with just a 19-22 road ledger and were 19-21-1 ATS. The Wiz were able to eke out a pair of home wins with their two-man game, but things will be different on the road.
Wall and Beal combined for 63 points on Wednesday and did all the heavy lifting down the stretch by scoring 20 of the Wizards’ final 21 points. They also outscored the Hawks 24-23 by themselves in the final quarter. It was enough to lift the Wizards to their fifth consecutive victory over the Hawks while going 4-1 ATS in that stretch.
History isn’t in the Hawks’ corner after dropping the first two games. Teams that start 0-2 in a seven-game series have won just six percent of the time, and worse for the Hawks is that they’ve never won a seven-game series when starting with losses in the first two. Now, that doesn’t mean the Hawks are going to roll over and concede this thing. It’s actually the exact opposite. There are no moral victories in sports, but the Hawks were in both games against a good Wizards team on the road.
And with a return to their own gym, where they were money down the stretch of the regular season, the Hawks should feel good about their chances. Atlanta won its final four games at Philips Arena, including victories over Boston and Cleveland with their playoff life on the line. They pulled off a memorable comeback against the defending champs in the final week of the season and buried Charlotte in the finale, covering the spread in each of the last three.
Player to Watch
Paul Millsap is Atlanta’s best player, and when the All-Star speaks people tend to listen. Millsap’s “we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA” statement following the Hawks’ Game 1 loss must have gotten the attention of the officials. The Wizards were whistled for 29 fouls on Wednesday and the Hawks converted 33 of 38 from the free throw line to stay close. And Millsap was the biggest benefactor.
With Washington’s entire frontcourt in foul trouble, Millsap had no trouble scoring the basketball in the second half. When Markieff Morris went to the bench with four fouls, Millsap scored 14 of his 27 points in the third quarter. He also had an advantage over Jason Smith and tallied 21 points while going 12 of 12 from the free throw line in the second half. The games will continue to be called tight and Millsap could again have a big night at home.
Wizards vs. Hawks Free Picks
Atlanta better find a way to slow at least one of Washington’s backcourt players in order to get back in this series. Wall and Beal have combined to score over 52 percent of Washington’s points in the series and the two went off for 63 on Wednesday. It didn’t help the Wiz that Morris, Otto Porter and Kelly Oubre were limited by foul trouble, but if the Hawks can prevent the guards from going off, their chances of getting a win improve drastically.
Check back for odds at BookMaker.eu and look for the Hawks to be a slight favorite. Atlanta gave points in the two regular season games at Philips Arena and the teams split those two SU and ATS. The Hawks held fourth quarter leads in each of the first two games and gave it away down the stretch, but getting back home where they were so good at the end of the regular season will be the difference. As will the play of Millsap in a Hawks cover win.
Wizards vs. Hawks ATS Pick: Give the points with Atlanta at BookMaker.eu
Wizards vs. Hawks Score Prediction: Hawks 108 – Wizards 101