Scouting Report: Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards snapped a mini funk with a convincing victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, keeping Charlotte at arm’s length in the race to avoid seventh in the East.
Washington currently owns a 2-1 season series lead thanks to a 114-97 win in Atlanta last month in which only nine Hawks were available. Atlanta is still dealing with injury issues but should have a few more bodies available this time around. Pero Antic is expected to return to the starting lineup after missing one game with an ankle sprain, but Kyle Korver remains out with back spasms.
John Wall anchors Washington’s attack. He scored 21 points in the Feb. 19 game, and his average is up to 20 a game. That combined with his 8.8 assists per game makes him the East’s top point guard at the moment. He loves attacking the basket, but he’s also fond of the mid-range pull up jumper, so Hawks guards will have to worry about both. Wall prefers to go right, especially when pulling up for that elbow jumper, so if he does get to his right hand it’s important that defenders don’t give him space.
Two benefactors of Wall’s excellent passing ability have been wing men Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza. Both are shooting better than 40 percent from three, and both have the ability to get and stay hot, so closing out on those two will be important. Of course, Wall often draws double teams, so the Hawks will have to pick their spots and make sure that if they do leave Beal or Ariza, they do so at the appropriate time.
The Wizards appear to be locked into the sixth spot a this point, and while they still could technically move up or down in the standings, this looks to be a much more important game for the Hawks.
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