Feb 19, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap (4) is fouled by Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) in the second half at Philips Arena. The Wizards won 114-97. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Wizards vs. Hawks preview: Game Time, Key Match Up, Notes and Prediction


The Washington Wizards are coming off one of their most impressive victories at home against the Indiana Pacers, and they have to find a way to carry that momentum over tonight versus the Atlanta Hawks. The game will tip off at 8:00 PM from the Verizon Center.

Key Match Up:

The Atlanta Hawks are trying to solidify a spot in the playoffs and I think it’s safe to say they’d be nowhere near the postseason picture without All-Star forward, Paul Millsap. He’s averaged about 20 points and and 11 rebounds in the first three match ups against Washington this season. His ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket, score inside and out makes him a very tough cover for any opposing four in the league. Millsap has been a legitimate All-Star this season and he’s on his way to leading the Hawks to another postseason appearance.

Trevor Booker has struggled defensively this season, and without Nene in the lineup, Washington will certainly be faced with a tough task in defending Millsap. Booker has to force Millsap to take shots from the outside and even though he’s capable of shooting from the perimeter, I’m sure Washington will live with any shot he gets outside of the paint. The Hawks aren’t a good rebounding team, ranking 28th in rebounds per game, and Booker has to control the boards tonight, especially against Millsap.

Notes:

Prediction:

After beating the Pacers at home, Washington can’t afford to lose to the Hawks. They played the best defensive game of the year and losing to a team well below .500 would be unacceptable at this point.

John Wall was spectacular against Indiana, but Bradley Beal struggled mightily, scoring just 7 points on 13 shot attempts. He has to find a way to become effective when his shot isn’t falling and I think he could have a bounce back game against Atlanta.

Marcin Gortat was also terrific against the Pacers, scoring 17 points to go along side 12 rebounds. Atlanta doesn’t have much size and Gortat should be able to control the game inside.

I think Washington will get another win tonight against Atlanta. The Wizards have to make a final playoff push and they have to find a way to win games they’re supposed to win.

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