Opening Statements: Wizards at Hawks, Game 6 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements: Wizards at Hawks, Game 6

Updated: November 7, 2015

Ever woken up to the smell of something rotten? Instead of a dark roast tickling your nostrils, you get weeks-old salmon that ended up in the trash after your roommate’s late-night cleaning session. Or perhaps it’s the dog poop that’s still stuck to the bottom of your shoe.

This everyday horror was not my reality this morning. But it probably was for many of the Wizards who woke up hungover from nightmares of Kelly Olynyk jump shots and a scoreboard that, no matter what, always showed Washington losing by 20.

The above is more or less what what happened on Friday night at TD Garden. After what looked like a promising start for the 3-1 Wizards, the Celtics composed themselves with an early timeout, finished the first quarter on a 24-9 run and never looked back … well, besides the one time at the end of the third quarter, leading 100-74, to check if the Wizards were still alive.


“We went through the motions,” Randy Wittman said post-game, giving barely any credit to the Celtics. TAI’s Bryan Frantz summarized it better late last night (do read his recap here):

“On Friday, playing without perhaps their best player, Marcus Smart, the Celtics got star performances from Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, and Isaiah Thomas, while Jae Crowder and Evan Turner had strong outings as well. That won’t happen often. The Wizards won’t be so incredibly inept very often, either.”

Yep. Quite enough about that stinker.

Buddy Grizzard, editor of ESPN TrueHoop’s HawksHoop, joins us to offer both rapid-fire reactions on Atlanta’s most recent performance and point out a few things to watch for tonight.

Teams: Wizards at Hawks
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Philips Arena – Atlanta, GA
Television: CSN
Radio: WNEW-FM 99.1
Spread: Hawks fav’d by 4 points.

Q #1: You won in New Orleans last night. Share your game story in six words or less. And what early-season happenings are beginning to look like trends?

@BuddyGrizzard: Kyle Korver’s in-between game is real.

Korver is off to a slow start from 3-point range after a summer lost to rehab from two separate surgeries. Korver entered the Pelicans game having shot just 5-for-20 (25%) on 3-point attempts for the season. He has somewhat made up for it by adding a dribble-drive and midrange pull-up to his game, frequently using the glass. In New Orleans, Korver may have turned the corner, tying Paul Millsap for the team lead with 22 points on eight shots including 4-for-4 from distance and a game-high plus-16.

Q #2: Kent Bazemore. Love that he’s getting regular run. He’s also been deadly from 3-point range, especially from the corners (catch-and-shoot magic). Sustainable? And is he bringing enough to the hardwood to make you forget about DeMarre Carroll?

@BuddyGrizzardUnlike the trend of Kyle Korver diversifying his offensive game while progressing toward his career 3-point average (43%), the trend of Bazemore shooting 10-for-12 (83%) on catch-and-shoot 3s seems less likely to continue. On the surface, Bazemore is doing a good job of replacing the statistical contributions of DeMarre Carroll (10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game). However, opponents are scoring 106.6 points per 100 possessions with Bazemore on the floor, the worst defensive rating of any Hawk with multiple appearances this season. That’s a trend I’d love to see reverse itself.

Q #3: Bigger impact off the bench: Dennis Schröder Tiago Splitter?

@BuddyGrizzardOne of the biggest trends to watch for the Hawks this year is’s on-court advanced net differential, which is a team’s offensive points per 100 possessions minus the opponent’s when a given player is on the floor. The Hawks are currently outscoring opponents by 19 points per 100 possessions with Thabo Sefolosha on the floor and 13.1 with Tiago Splitter on the floor. These are quintessential Budball players whose numbers don’t blow you away unless you look past the surface stats.

Dennis Schröder is still just teasing his full potential. Dennis becoming a consistent menace is on the way: it’s in the mail. But right now we’re taking multiple trips to the mailbox and receiving only sporadic deliveries. Against the Pelicans, Schröder was efficient, scoring 15 points on eight shots with five assists. But his only turnover in the fourth quarter earned a quick hook from Mike Budenholzer. Schröder forced a drive against a double-team and threw the ball away. For the season, the Hawks are outscoring opponents by less than a point per 100 possessions with Schröder on the floor. As of now, Sefolosha and Splitter are vastly more impactful players off the bench for the Hawks.

BONUS! Which team will have more All-Stars this season: Washington or Atlanta?

@BuddyGrizzard: Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Al Horford, John Wall, and Bradley Beal will represent their teams at this season’s All-Star game. The Hawks won’t have four All-Stars again, but I don’t see a third All-Star for the Wizards.

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John Converse Townsend
Reporter / Writer / Co-Editor at TAI
John has been part of the editorial team at TAI since 2010. He likes: pocket passes, chase-down blocks, 3-pointers. He dislikes: typos, turnovers, midrange jump shots.