Without John Wall on Friday, the Wizards lost by 37 points to the Brooklyn Nets. The Nets. The same Nets team that could potentially make the playoffs despite being five games under .500.
Both the Hawks and Wizards are in the playoffs, and they have both already had their seeds decided (certainly the No. 1 seed for the Hawks, and mot likely the No. 5 for the Wiz). Still, this game should be a good test for the Wizards. They crushed the 76ers earlier in the week without Wall, but it's Philly, after all.
The Hawks are without a doubt one of the two favorites to win the East, in addition to the Cavaliers, and it seems as if Atlanta will be going full strength tonight with the healthy players they have, though given Mike Budenholzer's track record, it wouldn't be surprising to see at least one of their starters get some rest.
This could have happened Friday, too, but if the Wizards win tonight, they'll also capture the best record since 1979, which is awesome. For all the frustrations this season has brought, it'd be great to get to 46 wins.
Where and when: The Washington Wizards will stay at home to face the Atlanta Hawks at 6 p.m. You can watch the game on NBA TV (horray for nationally televised games!) or you can listen on the radio at 99.1 WNEW.
Who's injured? Garrett Temple will now be out for the remainder of the regular season, since he aggravated his already existing hamstring injury, so we won't be seeing him until the playoffs. Nene also sat out the Nets game with plantar fasciitis, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him rest again to prepare for the playoffs.
For the Hawks, they're missing Paul Millsap from their starting lineup, so Mike Muscala will most likely get the start at power forward. Thabo Sefolosha is out for the remainder of the year for them due to an injury sustained in the Chris Copeland stabbing in New York. Other than that, expect to see Jeff Teague and Co. out on the floor.
What's at stake? Not a whole lot, honestly. The Hawks cannot lose the No. 1 seed now, and the Wizards would need A LOT to go right if they wanted any shot at moving up to the No. 4 seed, but they've also pulled far enough ahead of the Bucks at No. 6 that they won't fall if they lose all three of their final games.
If nothing else, the Wizards will want to use this as a litmus test for the playoffs. After tonight, they face the Indiana Pacers (a possible No. 8 seed) and the Cleveland Cavaliers (already locked into the No. 2 seed) so these will all be great tests for the Wiz.
Keys to tonight's game: Get Bradley Beal going. In Washington's past two games, Beal and Marcin Gortat have basically been the entire offense. Beal has scored a combined 45 points in those two contests with Wall out and is shooting 6-for-7 from three.
The Hawks come in tied for fourth in the league in most threes made per game (10) and seventh in threes attempted per game (26.1). Kyle Korver has made three threes in five of his past six games, and Beal is the only player on Washington's roster who could keep up with that pace.
Heading into the playoffs, it'll be key to have Beal hot, and these last three games could get him rolling.
It's also important for the Wizards to get Wall back into the fold after missing two games. With John Wall on the court this season, Washington's offensive rating increases by over 13 points, per Basketball-Reference.com.
Ramon Sessions had a good spot start against the Sixers, scoring 19 points, but he was just 1-for-7 from the floor against Brooklyn. Sessions is a fine backup, but having Wall in there should really boost the offense. It'll be a great test tonight against the sixth most efficient defense in the league, per ESPN's John Hollinger's ratings.