3 Questions for Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks

Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Washington Wizards
Washington Wizards (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Which Team Will Win the Pace Battle?

Don’t blink, or you might miss a few plays.

The Wizards and the Hawks are two of the fastest-playing teams in the league: Atlanta leads the NBA in pace at 105.2 possessions per 48 minutes, and Washington isn’t too far behind in seventh at 101.6 possessions. Tuesday night is expected to be yet another track meet between both squads, who scored 248 total points in their first meeting.

The young Hawks play fast in hopes of creating more opportunities and possessions for them to outscore their opponents. Of course, that also means you increase the chances for mistakes as well, especially for a team as inexperienced as Atlanta is. That should work in the Wizards’ favor.

The Hawks are committing a league-high 18 turnovers per game, almost two whole turnovers more than the second-worst Suns. Rookie point guard Trae Young is sixth in the league at 3.9 per game, and had 6 in their loss to the Wizards earlier this month. Combine that with the fact that the Wizards are fourth in forcing opponent turnovers and eighth in steals per game, and the Wizards could make it a long night for Young and the Hawks. The Wizards also rank in the top 10 in points off turnovers (18.6) and fast-break points (14.5) per game.

The catch on that may be that the Hawks are also in the top 10 in both categories, a product of their rabid pace, but the Wizards are actually more careful with the ball than fans may realize. The Wizards commit just 13.5 turnovers per game, which is good for the eighth fewest in the league. As long the Wizards can force the Hawks into their usual carelessness for the ball and capitalize on those chances, it should bode well.