Washington Wizards will look to redeem themselves against the Atlanta Hawks in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. Live stream, time and more.
The Washington Wizards experimented with small ball in the 2015 NBA Playoffs, swept the higher seeded Toronto Raptors in the first round and had a legitimate chance to make the Eastern Conference Finals had John Wall not broken his wrist.
Hoping to build on the playoff momentum, the Wizards comprised a roster that seemed conducive to playing that winning style of basketball. With Jared Dudley replacing Paul Pierce in the lineup, the Wizards had the stretch four they were looking for.
But the team’s defensive identity deteriorated, Bradley Beal caught the injury bug again and Wall was surrounded by players who were completely dependent on him for success.
The Wizards found themselves missing the playoffs after experiencing one of their most successful seasons in decades the year prior.
This year, the Wizards’ expectations were somewhat murky after missing the postseason.
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Ernie Grunfeld saw most of his off-season acquisitions – Ian Mahinmi, Jason Smith, Andrew Nicholson, Trey Burke and Tomas Satoransky – struggle to find their rhythms in D.C., forcing Wall and Beal to carry the team again.
Somehow, after a 2-8 start, the Wizards woke up and started playing winning basketball.
Washington became the first team to go 15 games above .500 after such a start and secured home court advantage in the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs with a 49-33 record.
Grunfeld corrected his off-season signings by making several mid-season moves, including a trade for Bojan Bogdanovic. The Wizards also replaced Burke in the lineup with Brandon Jennings, whom they signed from waivers.
Washington turned their season around seemingly overnight, winning the Southeast Division title for the first time since 1979.
After the All-Star break, it became apparent that the Wizards would be headed to the playoffs, but their opponent wasn’t determined. As of last week, though, the Wizards learned that they would be facing the Atlanta Hawks.
The first round matchup will begin on Sunday, April 16 in the nation’s capital at 1 p.m. EST.
Washington lost to Atlanta in the semifinals, albeit to a Hawks team that’s built different than this year’s iteration.
Atlanta was unable to re-sign All-Star center Al Horford this past summer, but replaced him with Dwight Howard. As a result, their spacing took a hit, but gained more physicality inside. The Hawks also traded former All-Star point guard Jeff Teague, opting to start Dennis Schroder in his place.
Given their place in the standings, the Wizards will start the series at home. Game-1 typically sets the tone for the remainder of the series. Washington won 17 straight games at home this season.