The Washington Wizards are going to face the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the NBA Playoffs after eliminating the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night. Here's what the schedule will look for the second round series.
|Game 1||Philips Arena||Sunday, May 3||1 p.m.||ABC|
|Game 2||Philips Arena||Tuesday, May 5||8 p.m.||TNT|
|Game 3||Verizon Center||Saturday, May 9||5 p.m.||ESPN|
|Game 4||Verizon Center||Monday, May 11||7 p.m.||TNT|
|Game 5*||Philips Arena||Wednesday, May 13||TBD||TNT|
|Game 6*||Verizon Center||Friday, May 15||TBD||ESPN|
|Game 7*||Philips Arena||Monday, May 18||TBD||TNT|
* - If necessary
Please note only national TV stations are listed because local affiliates do not get to broadcast games after the first round. Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier will be watching the rest of the playoffs alongside the rest of us from the comfort of their homes, or from wherever they're taking their well-deserved vacations.
The Hawks have home court advantage in the series, but they'll be going into Game 1 at a bit of a disadvantage. They have to make a quick turnaround from Friday night's win in Brooklyn to preparing for a Sunday afternoon game against the Wizards, who haven't played in a week and are 7-1 in playoff road games over the past two seasons.
Despite those advantages, the Wizards still have their work cut out for them in this series. The Hawks are 38-6 at home this season, including their three wins at home in the first round against the Nets. The Warriors are the only team with a better record at home than the Hawks this season. Plus, the Hawks went 3-1 against the Wizards in the regular season. As we learned in the first round, regular season outcomes don't always carry over to the playoffs, but we can still learn from what we saw earlier this season. Here's a quick look back at all four games:
November 25: Hawks beat Wizards 106-102 in D.C.
It's easy to forget now, but the Wizards had the superior record and were favored to win their first meeting of the season. The Hawks were underdogs even though Nene was out and Bradley Beal was still on a minutes restriction for the Wizards after his early-season wrist injury. Jeff Teague had 14 free throw attempts and the Hawks' defense forced Washington into 20 turnovers as they pulled off the "upset" on the road.
January 11: Hawks beat Wizards 120-89 in Atlanta
Coming into the game, the Wizards were looking to prove they were on Atlanta's level. That did not happen. The Hawks went on a 20-6 run in the first quarter, a 10-2 run in the second quarter, a 16-2 run in the third quarter, and a 26-5 run in the fourth to remove any doubt on which team was better at the time.
February 4: Hawks beat Wizards 105-96 in Atlanta
After facing the Hawks at the beginning of their best stretch of the season, they caught them again at the tail end of their peak in their third meeting. They kept it much closer the second time around, but still didn't have enough to close the deal in Atlanta.
April 12: Wizards beat Hawks 108-99 in D.C.
Don't let the final score fool you, the Wizards were in control the entire game, as they should have been, since the Hawks rested all five of their starters. The Wizards let their foot off the gas just enough at the end to let the Hawks make the final score respectable, but the Wizards did enough to clinch their best regular season since 1979 in the win.
Another interesting trend to keep an eye on in the series is how John Wall handles Atlanta's defense. The Hawks forced Wall into more turnovers per game than any other team in the NBA this season.
We'll see if Wizards' extra week to gameplan and boost their spacing with Paul Pierce as power forward will help Wall cut down on his turnovers against the Hawks, or if Mike Budenholzer will find some new ways to cut off Wall's passing lanes.