Nov 30, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) reaches for the ball as Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap (4) dribbles during the first half at the Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Wizards at Hawks: Game Time, Key Match Up, Notes, and Prediction

The Washington Wizards have lost 5 of their last 6 games, while the Atlanta Hawks are trying to avoid their seventh consecutive loss tonight at home. Both teams are desperately searching for a victory and tonight’s game could be considered a ‘must win’. The game will tip off at 7:30 PM from the Philips Arena.

Key Match Up:

Atlanta has lost Al Horford for the rest of the season to injury, but they’ve still managed to win enough games to remain in the playoff picture. First time All-Star, Paul Millsap, has played some of the best basketball in his career with Atlanta and he’s helped keep them afloat when they definitely could’ve plummeted in the standings. Millsap is putting up nearly 20 points and 11 rebounds in his first two meetings against Washington and he’ll have to play at that same level if he wants to break his team’s cold streak tonight.

Nene wasn’t great defensively last night against the Raptors and the Wizards gave up 60 points in the paint. Unlike a lot of the forwards Nene’s been matched up against this season, Millsap is capable of knocking down perimeter shots, making him much harder to defend than the average forward. Millsap is shooting over 36% from three point territory this season, but he also has the ability to score in the post. Nene has to do a better job defending his man, or else the Wizards are going to find themselves in danger of dropping their fourth straight game tonight.

Notes:

  • Without Al Horford, the Hawks have been able to improvise a bit, but they’ll also be without a few other bigs tonight. Pero Antic is out, and Gustavo Ayon will likely be sidelined since he suffered a shoulder injury against the Indiana Pacers last night. Needless to say, the Wizards should win the rebounding battle tonight.
  • The Hawks don’t have much talent on paper, but they’ve played well together–as they’re 1st in the NBA in assists.
  • John Wall made just 6 of his 22 shots the last time the Wizards met the Hawks, and Atlanta managed to get the victory after Al Horford knocked down a game winning jumper.
  • Atlanta is 26th in rebounding and they’ll be without a legitimate starting center tonight.

Prediction:

Washington has to find a way to win tonight, especially since the Hawks are so undermanned. John Wall played a good game last night, but Bradley Beal just couldn’t get it going. He has to find a way to contribute when his shot is not falling, but with that said, he should be able to get some open looks in Atlanta. Beal and Trevor Ariza shot a combined 4-18 from the field last night, and I don’t expect them to shoot that bad on a nightly basis.

Nene and Marcin Gortat have to dominate the boards tonight, especially with Al Horford, Gustavo Ayon, and Pero Antic out with injuries.

I think the Wizards will get the win tonight. Washington’s bigs will probably overwhelm Atlanta and the Hawks won’t have enough talent to win without a center. Paul Millsap has been great this season, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to keep Atlanta in the game single handedly. Washington will get the double-digit victory.

Tags: John Wall Nba Preview Nene Paul Millsap Washington Wizards Wizards At Hawks Wizards-hawks Preview

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