2015 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals Game #6
#1 Atlanta Hawks at #5 Washington Wizards
Hawks Lead Best of Seven Series 3-2
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
Friday, May 15, 2015, 7:05 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Washington -2 1/2
Current Line: Washington -2 1/2
Opening Total: 197
Current Total: 197 1/2
Opening Money Line: Wizards -145 / Hawks +125
Current Money Line: Wizards -145 / Hawks +125
The Atlanta Hawks have not advanced to the Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs since 1970. That can all change with a win Friday at the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Hawks were down 2-1 in the series, but have won two straight games to take a 3-2 lead int he series heading into game six. If Atlanta wins then they would face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. A Washington win would force a game seven Monday night in Atlanta.
Atlanta won the Southeast Division with a 60-22 record by 14 games over 46-36 Washington. The Hawks also won three of the four meetings in the regular season as well. The Wizards swept the #4 seed Toronto Raptors in the first round. Meanwhile, Atlanta struggled to beat the #8 seed Brooklyn Nets in six hard games.
Washington won game one 104-98 in Atlanta to take home court advantage. Atlanta evened the series with a 106-90 win in game two. Washington won game three at home 103-101 on a Paul Pierce buzzer beater. The Hawks won game four 106-101 to tie the series. In game five Wednesday night in Atlanta the Hawks escaped with a 82-81 win.
The first four games of the series were high scoring games with each team scoring at least 90 points. Both teams struggled on offense in game five though. Atlanta took a 23-19 lead going into the second quarter, but were outscored by 10 points in the second quarter. Washington lead 47-41 at halftime. Atlanta would rally to take a one point lead into the fourth, holding the Wizards to 15 points in the third.
In the fourth, Atlanta made only four three throws for the first 6 minutes of the quarter. They didn’t make their first field goal until 7 minutes into the quarter, and trailed by 9 at one point. The Hawks would go on a 14-0 run to take a 5 point lead with 2:55 left. After Washington tied it, Atlanta forward DeMarre Carroll made a shot with 14 seconds left to give the Hawks an 80-78 lead. Paul Pierce made a three with 8 seconds left to give Washington an 81-80 lead with 8 seconds to go. John Wall who played his first game since game one with a broken hand, blocked dennis Scroder’s lay-up attempt with 3 seconds left, but tipped the ball to Al Horford who made a lay-up to give the Hawks the lead. Washington didn’t have any timeouts and Wall missed a half court shot at the buzzer.
Washington shot 37.5% from the field including 4/17 from 3 point range. Atlanta wasn’t much better shooting 41% from the field including 5/22 from 3 point range. The two teams combined for 42 turnovers.
Horford had 23 points, 11 rebounds, 5 blocks and 2 assists. Paul Millsap had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Jeff Teague had 14 points and 5 assists. Carroll had 10 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists 2 steals and 2 blocks.
Washington guard Bradley Beal had 23 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 blocks. Wall had 15 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals and 2 blocks in his return. He is listed as probable for game six. Marcin Gortat had 14 rebounds, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.
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Atlanta is coached by Mike Budenholzer, who was named NBA coach of the year. The Hawks are 54-38-2 this season and the total is 47-48. Atlanta was a 7 point favorite in game five and the total was 200.5.
Washington is coached by Randy Wittman. Washington is 41-48-3 ATS and the total is 44-46-2.
Atlanta is outscoring teams 103-97 this season. The Hawks are in the top ten in both categories. Atlanta is shooting 46.6% from the field and 38% from 3 point range. The Hawks are #4 or better in both categories. Atlanta is #5 in free throw shooting at 77.5% from the line. Opponents are shooting 43.9% from the field and 34.1% from 3 point range. The Hawks are #7 or better in both categories. Atlanta averages 40.6 rebounds and opponents average 43.6 per game. The Hawks are #28 in rebounding. Atlanta averages 25.7 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 9.1 steals and 4.6 blocks per game.
In the playoffs, forward DeMarre Carroll averages 17.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. Paul Millsap averages 15.7 points, 9.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.2 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Kyle Korver averages 15.5 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Jeff Teague averages 14.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 2 steals per game. Al Horford averages 14.3 points, 10 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. Horford suffered a dislocated pinky in game one of the Brooklyn and has been playing with his hand taped but is probable. Dennis Schroder averages 9.3 points and 3.3 assists. Thabo Sefolosha is out for the season with a broken leg.
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Washington is outscoring teams 99-97 this season. The Wizards are #8 in points allowed in the NBA. Washington is shooting 46.5% from the field and 36% from 3 point range. The Wizards are in the top ten in both categories. Washington makes 74.2% from the free throw line. Opponents are shooting 43.3% from the field and 34.4% from 3 point range. Washington is #2 in field goal defense. The Wizards average 44.3 rebounds per game and opponents average 41.5 per game. Washington is in the top 10 in both categories. The Wizards average 24.1 assists, 14.3 turnovers, 7.4 steals and 4.6 blocks per game.
In the playoffs, Bradley Beal averages 20.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4 assists and 1.5 steals per game. John Wall averages 17.3 points, 4 rebounds, 12.5 assists and 1 block per game. Marcin Gortat averages 17.3 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks per game. Paul Pierce averages 15.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Atlanta is 5-1 ATS in Friday games, 4-9-1 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 3-7-1 against teams with winning records, 4-14-1 in Conference Semifinals games, 1-4-1 against teams with winning home records, and 1-5-1 after a straight up win. The Hawks are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five trips to Washington.
Washington is 5-0-1 ATS after a straight up loss, 9-2-1 against teams with winning records and against Eastern Conference teams, 4-1-2 at home, 12-3-2 overall, 6-2 after a cover, 3-1-1 against teams with winning road records, 9-19-2 against Southeast teams, 3-8-2 on one day rest, and 1-7-1 in Friday games. The over is 7-2 in this series recently including 4-0 in Washington.
Besides game two every game in this series has been decided by 6 points or less. I think this series seems destined for a game seven, and I think the Wizards make that happen with a close win in game six.