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PREGAME: Wizards at Hawks

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Regular Season Game 6

Washington (3-2) at Atlanta (5-1)

November 7, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

The infamous date of May 15, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington
Game 6: Hawks 94, Wizards 91
Just one tenth of a second too slow, and that was all she wrote.

pierce


What to watch

Irfan: Ball movement, on both ends. The Wizards have a way of moving the ball, that tends to start with Wall, and end with a Wall assist. The Hawks have a way of moving the ball that seems to never end, until it ends with a bucket. Both ways work. Through the first week of the season, the Wizards and Hawks rank 10th and 11th respectively in passes per game as a team, and you can expect those rankings to rise as the season goes on. As a Wizards fan, every game is one to look forward to. As a basketball fan, this one should give a little something extra.

Abdullah: Wizards resilience? Recommitting to defense? Anything better than we saw in Boston last night? The Wizards, seemingly on a basketball high after ousting the Spurs in a dramatic Panda’s fashion, got blasted by the Celts in a game where Randy Wittman aired out his team for a lack of general commitment. The one constant, though: Bradley Beal, who from underneath the rubble of bombardment still managed to drop 24 on 15 shots.

The Wizards are second in the league in pace (ironically to Boston) at just around 105 possessions per game, a substantial jump from last year’s 99 possessions per game. The Hawks are 20th in this department, deeming them not as assertive down court, meaning they will be forced to make adjustments should the Wizards dictate the pace. Which they, well, should. The Wizards are at their absolute best when John Wall is controlling the tempo and has the defense shuffling on their heels. However, turnovers have been the very poison that’s gagged the Wizards in several games already this season, with the Boston game last night being the lowest point. The Hawks are red hot at 6-1 so they certainly don’t deserve any charitable possessions.


Key matchup

Irfan: Ballers vs. Balance.

The Wizards have the two most explosive players in this game in Wall and Beal. They are the only guys in this game averaging 20+ points, and two of the three Wizards averaging in double figures (Ramon Sessions being the other). The Hawks do not have a single 20 point scorer, but feature 5 players scoring in double figures. This is no surprise. Balance is what the Hawks do, and they do it better than almost anyone else. The winner of this clash of styles will win the game.

Abdullah: Ramon Sessions vs. his inner demons

Sesh has been god-awful since that 23-point outbreak against the Bucks in the second game of the season. Since then, he’s gone just 3-of-17 from the field and has been fried by every point guard he’s faced. Enter golden patch boy Dennis Schröder tonight who proved during the playoffs last season just how much of pesky brat he can be. Sessions has less than 24 hours to reshape his confidence a bit after these past few games. Showing up against the Hawks tonight should help.


X-Factor

Irfan: Kyle Korver. After last night, Korver is now the sixth Hawk averaging double digits. After going 4-4 last night, his 3-point percentage is up to 38 percent. He was shooting only 25 percent prior to that, having made just 5 of 20 shots from 3.

Abdullah: Marcin Gortat. He’s been very tough on himself lately, largely overthinking things but tonight, he’ll need to be fired up going against an All-Star tandem in Horford and Millsap. Gortat needs a little more establishment on the offensive end and for that to happen, he needs to dominate in the post and on pick and roll plays. More plays where his back is to the basket or he’s rolling to the rim will give him more chances to be a force against a very tough matchup.


Fun factor

Irfan: New look Hawks! Like the Bucks, the Hawks did some nice new stuff with their logo this season:

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The two-color scheme gives them a throwback feel, and the “Pac-Man” style Hawk is simply (and simplistically) awesome. Even the use of the language “Basketball Club” gives the feel of team professionalism, legitimacy, and an almost European swagger to match their style of play. I like the new look for anyone. I LOVE it for Atlanta.

Abdullah: These amazing Vine I created:


Predictions

Irfan: Ballers beat balance. Bullets beat Birds.

Abdullah: John and Brad are pissed. Marcin’s pissed. The Philips Arena organ player will be pissed. Wiz beat a conference rival on the road, setting the momentum for OKC on Tuesday night.

we are Hoop District

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