In their first match up with the Atlanta Hawks, the Washington Wizards showed fans exactly what to expect from them this postseason. The Wizards produce a high powered offense with a little sprinkle of defense.
Some may argue that the Wizards played good defense especially with Hawks forward Paul Millsap’s comment. According to ESPN staff writer Ohm Youngmisuk,
“But after the Wizards won 114-107 on Sunday, Millsap indicated that the Wizards turned the game into something closer to WWE’s SmackDown.’The difference in the game was we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA,’ Millsap told reporters, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution”.
With the Wizards being physical, their defense was still suspect. The Wizards gave up 107 and allowed to Hawks to shoot 43 percent from the field. The point total and the field goal percentage are things the Wizards need to address, but their defense was not completely absent.
It can be seen with the high effort chase down block by John Wall that defense was there. The Wizards had 8 steals and 9 blocks in their initial game of their first round match up. They allowed the Hawks to shoot only 28 percent from the 3-point line. If the Wizards can shape up in some defensive categories then they will be a legit threat to upset the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East.
Defense only will not help the Wizards advance to the NBA Finals. Their offense was phenomenal this first outing against the Hawks this postseason. The Wizards scored 114 points and shot 45 percent from the floor. They ended the game with 28 assist as well. It shows that minus that 28.8 percent shooting from 3-point land that the Wizards have it going offensively.
John Wall led the Wiz with 32 points, 4 rebounds, 14 assists, and 1 block. All five starters where in double digits scoring, with three of them scoring over 20 points. The down part the team’s offensive is the lack thereof from the bench. Now of the five players that came off the bench, two players scored a total of 15 points. Only Kelly Oubre Jr. and Bojan Bogdanovic scored. Other players like Brandon Jennings and Jason Smith must step up as well if the team wants a deep playoff run.
Overall the Wizards did what they need to do in order to win game 1. However, they need to improve on defense and bench production if they want to win a championship. Only time will tell if they Wizards can fight their way to a championship.