Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards (-1.5, 200.5 o/u)
The 2015 playoffs appeared to be a coming out party for the Washington Wizards (51-37, 31-12 home). The team improved to a perfect 5-0 in the playoffs by taking Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals from the No. 1 seed Atlanta Hawks (65-25, 26-18 away) last weekend. But then things took a turn. Star point guard John Wall sat out Game 2 on Tuesday due to multiple fractures in his hand, and the Wizards’ magic potion for winning joined him on the sideline, as the team fell 106-90.
Now knotted at one game apiece, the series shifts to D.C. today for Game 3 (5:00 PM Eastern at the Verizon Center). But Wall’s status remains murky.
When asked whether he’ll be ready for Game 3, Wall said, “”I can’t really say. I am just doing the best I can. After it happened, I got treatment for like 24 hours straight and doing everything I can. God has a plan. All I can do is keep getting treatment and try to get better like I am playing Game 3.”
Added Paul Pierce, “Definitely, you miss Wall. That’s an All-Star starter, our best player. Of course we miss him. [But] we are not going to cry foul and use it as an excuse. … We got to band together collectively, use the guys we have because we feel like we can beat them with what we have.”
Without Wall to run the offense, the Hawks outlasted the Wizards behind their usual balanced attack. DeMarre Carroll had 22 points to lead the team while Al Horford and Paul Millsap both adding 18. Paul Millsap’s 11 boards were a game-high.
“We knew this was a game we had to win,” Carroll said. “It was kind of a funky game.”
Going into Game 3, the Hawks are doing their best to stay focused regardless of Wall’s status.
“It’s dangerous, man,” said Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore. “Oh, their best player is not playing, so they don’t have a chance. But they still have a very dangerous team.”
At this point, it looks like Wall can’t dribble and thus won’t be on the court, so the play in Game 3 is the Hawks and the points (+1.5).
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (originally posted to Flickr as John Wall) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)