The Wizards’ Shooting Woes Allow Hawks Back Into the Series | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

The Wizards’ Shooting Woes Allow Hawks Back Into the Series

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Updated: April 24, 2017

[Photo via AP]

With the Hawks’ season on the brink, Paul Millsap led his team to a decisive 116-98 win over the Wizards. Everyone afterward flashed back to Millsap’s comments about the series being tied 0-0 after Atlanta’s Game 2 loss.

There is an overused NBA adage that says a series doesn’t start until a road team wins a game, and if that statement were to be taken at face value, the Wizards vs. Hawks series, despite all the drama, has not officially started.(1)

In Atlanta, anyway, the Hawks jumped on the Wizards from the opening tip and dominated every facet of the game till the closing buzzer. It was surprising, given Game 2 ended on such a high note for Washington, with its players displaying the confidence of a group that knows just how good it can be.

As Millsap alludes here, this series is now personal for the All-Star forward — which may not bode well for the Wizards considering the fact that Millsap has outplayed Morris for the majority of the series, outscoring him 75-33. But the real story is how the Hawks were able to move the ball better, cut down on turnovers, and make open shots in Game 3 to get their first victory of the series.

The Hawks amassed 26 assists and just 11 turnovers in Game 3, compared to of 35 assists and 37 turnovers combined in the first two games. The catalyst for the Hawks drop in assist-to-turnover ratio has to be starting point guard Dennis Schröder, who was able to finally get into a rhythm playing in front of his home crowd. Schröder had 9 assists and just 3 turnovers to go along with his 27 points.

As good as Schröder’s Game 2 stat line was, he was still thoroughly outplayed by his point guard counterpart, John Wall. Wall finished the game with 29 points on just 12 shots, making him the only Wizards’ starter to have an effective game. The other four starters managed to score just 30 points on 14-for-45 shooting from the field.

Beal still doesn’t know what a miss is.

After Game 2, Beal was asked about all of his missed shots. He went back to a line that he used after a Detroit game earlier in the season: “I don’t know what a miss is, it’s over. A miss is a lady, you just forget about it. It is what it is, you just move on.”

Regardless of whether Beal’s being serious, he’s officially gone “Sorry, Ms. Jackson” from the field in this series. Beal has shot 27-for-68 (39%) from the field and 6-for-27 (22%) from behind the 3-point line, which is down from his respective season averages of 48% and 40%. The thing that is so baffling about Beal’s shooting struggles is that he appears to be getting good (if not great) looks at the basket. Of course, all shooters go through slumps, and the best way for a player of Beal’s caliber to get out of a rut is to continue to shoot.

What’s happened to Otto Porter?

Beal is not the only Wizard who is struggling with his shot this series — Otto Porter is down to just 25% shooting from 3 after shooting a career-high 43% during the regular season. Porter missed some time at the end of the season with a hip issue that flared up, but it seemed as if he would be healthy going into the postseason. Otto was forced to leave Game 3 early with a strained neck, but the Wizards announced today that Porter will be back in the lineup for Game 4.

The Wizards thrived with Porter as an ancillary scoring option (sometimes the third option) in the offense, and teams had to respect his shooting prowess. The lack of makes from the Wizards has allowed the Hawks to be more aggressive than usual in contesting John Wall’s dribble-drives to the basket, and the only way to change those circumstances is to knock down shots and prevent Hawks defenders from leaving players open on the wing to clog the lane.

How can the Wiz bounce back?

Now that the Hawks have the Wizards’ attention, it will be interesting to see what kind of adjustments Coach Scott Brooks will make to get his team back on track. Brooks will need to figure out a way to get his shooters more involved early in the game in order to take pressure off John Wall. Washington is at its best when Wall is the facilitator, putting his teammates in the best possible positions to score, but this system only works if the supporting cast can actually make shots created by Wall’s immaculate passes. Over the course of this season, Wizards role players have proven that they can rise to the occasion when their backs are against the wall.


  1. After the Game 3 loss, Wizards forward Markieff Morris had some choice words for Millsap, calling him a crybaby for all of his complaining after the Wizards’ first two wins. And it was Millsap, remember, who commented after Game 1 that the Wiz “were playing MMA,” not basketball.
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Troy Haliburton
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Troy Haliburton is a native Washingtonian, and graduate of Gonzaga College High School and Morehouse College. He is going into his second season writing for Truth About It, and also writes for sports analytics website numberfire.com. You can find him in a district bike lane in the Northwest neighborhood of Bloomingdale.