Opening Statements: Wizards vs Hawks, Game 71 | Wizards Blog Truth About

Opening Statements: Wizards vs Hawks, Game 71

Updated: March 23, 2016

Teams: Wizards vs Hawks
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Television: CSN
Radio: WNEW-FM 99.1
Spread: Wizards fav’d by 1 point.

Five wins in eight days: Yep, the Wizards did it—five wins in a row!

After losing five … in a row.

Somewhat ironically, after beating the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 2 and before losing those five games in a row, the then-30-30 Wizards were tied with the 30-30 Bulls for ninth in the East, 0.5 games back of the 8-seed Pistons and 1.5 games back of the 7-seed Pacers.

After five down and five up, the 35-35 Wizards are in tenth place and 1.5 games back of the 8-seed, 36-33 Bulls and the 9-seed, 37-34 Pistons. So, little ground lost but great opportunity blown.


Top Wizards five-man units during the five-game winning streak:

  • The Starters: Wall, Beal, Porter, Morris, and Gortat: +62 (59 mins)
  • Wall, Temple, Porter, Morris, and Gortat: +8 (33 mins)
  • Sessions, Beal, Temple, Dudley, and Nene: +6 (15 mins)
  • Sessions, Thornton, Temple, Dudley, and Nene: +4 (9 mins)

But … be wary of these combos:

Sessions, Dudley and Nene on the court: -11 (47 mins). This is the 13th-most used three-man combo over the past five games, and the only combo in the top 16 play with a negative total plus/minus.

Furthermore, those three players plus Porter are minus-12 in 11 minutes, and that four-man combination has seen run in each of the last five games.

What about the five-game losing streak that just happened over nine days?

Call it the Morris Adjustment Period (MAP) … plus the factor of Beal’s injury. The Wizards looked disappointingly disinterested in Denver and Utah atop close-fought losses in Portland and to Indiana in Washington (not to mention outside parentheses that March 4 blowout to the Cavaliers in Cleveland).

  • Wall, Temple, Porter, Morris and Gortat: -9 (39 mins)
  • Wall, Beal, Porter, Morris and Gortat: -16 (27 mins)
  • Wall, Temple, Porter, Morris and Nene: +4 (20 mins)

The four-man combo of Wall, Porter, Morris, and Gortat were minus-20 over 72 minutes during that five-game bag. In particular, Morris and Gortat were poor together: minus-13 in 93 minutes. Morris and Nene were minus-12 over 42 minutes.

So, tonight the Wizards face the Atlanta Hawks after beating them in a ‘very nice win’ down in Georgia on Monday. Going into this home-and-away set, Wizards fans might have been happy with a split. But now they’re greedy in the return home, while the Hawks probably just want revenge—and to not slip further in the seeding (Atlanta currently holds the 4-seed with the same 41-30 record as the 5-seed Celtics).

There will be adjustments, such as whatever the Hawks might do to try to neutralize the Wizards going under screens versus Jeff Teague and Dennis Schröder, who shot a collective 4-for-12 from 3-point land on Monday (Teague 3-9, Schroder 1-3). Meanwhile, sharpshooter Kyle Korver only got off two 3-point shots and made one. And there will be counter-adjustments—who knows what the F Randy Wittman has cooking; maybe just more guts.

One interesting tidbit: The Wizards attempted 13 more field goals than the Hawks on Monday (but eight less 3-pointers). Twenty-nine (29) of Atlanta’s attempts were contested, per, and they shot 69 percent on those shots, while 49 attempts were uncontested (on which the Hawks shot 36.7 percent) (1). They can’t/won’t keep missing to that degree, but will the makes happen in the not-so-unfriendly confines of the Verizon Center?

We shall see, won’t we?

  1. The Wizards were 28-48 on uncontested shots on Monday (58.3%) and 18-43 on contested shots (41.9%)
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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.