clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Wizards vs. Hawks Game 1 preview: Rested Wizards try to strike first in Atlanta

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info

Where and when: The Washington Wizards take on the Atlanta Hawks at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Philips Arena in Atlanta.


Radio: 99.1 WNEW.

Injury report: Thabo Sefolosha is out for the season after fracturing his fibula. Other than that, everyone for the Hawks and Wizards are healthy.

Three storylines for Game 1

Can the Wizards take advantage of their extra rest? The Wizards are playing for the first time in a week after sweeping the Raptors, while Atlanta had to make the quick flight back from Brooklyn on Friday night to get ready for Sunday afternoon's game. For an older team like the Wizards, the rest is a big advantage heading into Game 1. The Wizards don't have the luxury of using the first six minutes to shake the rust off after a week off. They need to come out hot to maximize their preparation advantage and force the Hawks to react, rather than allow them to establish the pace early.

When will the Wizards unleash Paul Pierce at power forward? We've all seen the the benefits of playing Paul Pierce at power forward lately, but the Wizards will need to use him at power forward differently if they want to be successful against the Hawks. Pierce will still provide beneficial spacing on the offensive end, but the Wizards need to think long and hard about when to use him in order to prevent putting him in a bad position defensively. If Paul Millsap's shoulder is healthy, he'll give Pierce problems on the defensive end. It makes a lot more sense to use him at power forward when Mike Scott is on the floor, since Scott can't make Pierce pay inside, but readjusting the rotation to take advantage of that might be tricky.

Can the Wizards corral Jeff Teague? In the three games Teague played against the Wizards this season, he averaged 21.7 points and 7.0 assists per game, while shooting 47.7 percent from the field. The Hawks scored 126 points per 100 possessions while he was on the court vs. the Wizards this season. As good as John Wall is defensively, it's impossible to stop speedy point guards with just one player. If the Wizards' defensive communication isn't on point, it will be a long afternoon.