Eastern Conference Semifinals Game #3: Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards

2015 NBA Playoffs
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
Game #3
#1 Atlanta Hawks at #5 Washington Wizards
Best of Seven Series Tied 1-1
Verizon Center – Washington, DC
Saturday, May 9, 2015, 5:05 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Washington -1
Current Line: Atlanta -3 1/2 (-105)
Opening Total: 199
Current Total: 198 1/2
Opening Money Line: Wizards -125 / Hawks +105
Current Money Line: Hawks -170 / Wizards +150

Bradley Beal and the Wizards will likely be without star point guard John Wall for game three against the Hawks Saturday in a series that is tied 1-1.
Bradley Beal and the Wizards will likely be without star point guard John Wall for game three against the Hawks Saturday in a series that is tied 1-1.

Even though the Washington Wizards earned a split in the two games in Atlanta against the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, there chances to win the series were diminished when it was revealed star guard John Wall has five fractures in his left wrist and hand. Wall is considered doubtful for Saturday’s game three in Washington after missing game two in Atlanta Tuesday night.

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. However in the playoffs, Washington had clearly been the sharper team before game two. The Wizards swept the Toronto Raptors in the first round. Meanwhile, Atlanta struggled to beat the #8 seed Brooklyn Nets in six hard games.

In game one of this series, Washington rallied from a double digit halftime deficit to win 104-98 and steal home court advantage in the series. Atlanta rebounded in game two with a 106-90 win to even the series.

The Hawks took an early 10 point lead much like they did in game one. However, in game one, the Hawks shot only 25% from the field in the second half and scored only 35 points in the half. That would not be the case in game two. Atlanta took a seven point lead into halftime. The Wizards would rally to tie it in the third, but the Hawks led by five going into the fourth. Washington pulled to within three with 8:44 left, but would only score 9 points for the rest of the game. The Hawks closed the game on an 11-2 run to seal the much needed victory.

Atlanta forward DeMarre Carroll was more known for his defense coming into the playoffs but he has scored over 20 points for six straight playoff games dating back to the Brooklyn series. In game two against Washington, Carroll scored 22 points and added 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Paul Millsap had 18 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Al Horford had 18 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Kyle Korver had 12 points, along with 6 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists. Kent Bazemore added 10 points off the bench.

Ramon Sessions started in place of Wall and scored 21 points along with 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Bradley Beal scored 20 points, and added 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists. Paul Pierce added 15 points and 5 rebounds. Otto Porter scored 15 points off the bench and added 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals. Marcin Gortat scored 10 points and added 9 rebounds.

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Atlanta is coached by Mike Budenholzer, who was named NBA coach of the year. The Hawks are 53-35-2 this season and the total is 44-47. Atlanta was a 9 point favorite in game two and the total was 199.

Washington is coached by Randy Wittman. The Wizards are in the playoffs for the second straight year and lost in this round last year to the #1 seed Indiana Pacers. Washington is 38-47-3 ATS and the total is 42-44-2.

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 4-1-1 ATS after a cover, 23-9-1 against teams with winning records, 14-6-2 against Southeast teams, 3-7-1 overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 1-3-1 after a straight up win and in road games, 1-4-1 in Saturday games, 3-12-1 in second round games, and 0-3-1 against teams with winning home records. The favorite is 3-1-1 ATS in this series recently. The Hawks are 5-1-1 ATS in this series in the last seven games.

Washington is 3-0-2 ATS at home, 7-1-1 against teams with winning records, overall and against Eastern Conference teams, 4-1-1 against teams with winning road records, 7-18-2 against Southeast teams, 5-17-1 after a straight up loss, 5-23-2 after allowing 100 points or more, 4-21-1 after failing to cover, and 0-6-1 after a straight up loss of 10 points or more. Five of the last six games in this series have gone over the total. The home team is 3-1-1 ATS.

It was thought originally that Wall suffered a sprained wrist and with three days off between games two and three that he could play when the series shifted to Washington. However, with broken bones, it would seem a very long shot for him to even play for the rest of the series. The Wizards hung around for awhile in game two without Wall, but the offense simply isn’t as exciting without such a dynamic playmaker as Wall running the show. I think the Hawks win on the road to take a 2-1 series lead.

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