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Game 4 of the Hawks’ first round series against the Wizards is in the books and the series is now tied at 2-2 heading back to D.C. for Game 5.

This episode recaps the things the Hawks did to win Game 4 and how they can win Game 5 on Wednesday.

If you enjoyed the episode, a ReTweet is always appreciated.

Enjoy Game 5!

The Atlanta Hawks won wire-to-wire against the Washington Wizards in Game 3 of their best-of-7 series 116-98, trimming the series deficit to 1-2. John Wall led the Wizards with 29 points on 10-of-12 shooting while Brandon Jennings added 13 points.

For the Hawks, they were led by Paul Millsap’s 29 points and Dennis Schröder’s 27 points.

First quarter blitz brings the Hawks back into the series

This game was essentially decided in the first quarter, a first quarter the Hawks dominated.

The Hawks scored 38 points on 65% shooting from the field and drained five three-pointers. For reference, the Hawks totalled four three-pointers in Game 2. Atlanta also held the Wizards to 20 points on 30% shooting from the floor and led by as many as 25 points in the opening period.

“They jumped on us in that first period. Their sense of urgency was very high. I wouldn’t say that we came out relaxed. We came out missing shots, but we let that affect our defense. That’s happened before with us during the season, and it’s not pretty.”

— Coach Scott Brooks

Brooks is right. The Hawks’ sense of urgency was high and it had to be. If they had lost this game it would’ve been a done deal. Commentating on Game 3 of the Cavs-Pacers series, TNT’s Kevin McHale had a great line, something along the lines of: “2-1, it’s a series, 3-0, it’s over”.

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The Atlanta Hawks dropped Game 1 of their best-of-7 series against the Washington Wizards, coming out second-best in an ugly 114-107 encounter at Verizon Center. John Wall led the Washington Wizards with a new playoff-high of 32 points and 14 assists while Bradley Beal added 22 points. For the Hawks, they were led by Dennis Schröder’s 25 points.

Turnovers prove costly

From our playoff preview:

Turnovers were a big factor in the regular season-series and whichever team takes care of the ball (and in the process, limits the opposing team’s points off of turnovers) is going to have a huge advantage over the other.

It was indeed a big factor in Game 1 and it was the Wizards who were the ones who took care of the ball while the Hawks were the ones who coughed it up. The Hawks committed 21 total turnovers which led to 23 Washington points. There wasn’t really one specific player who ran up the turnover counter (though Millsap did have four), everyone contributed in that department. The one thing the Wizards love to do is run and get out in transition, and when you fuel them with turnovers they’ll churn out the fast break/turnover points.

Here, Kelly Oubre Jr. gets an arm on a pass from Ersan Ilyasova to Tim Hardaway Jr., and Oubre takes advantage with a dunk in transition.

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In 2015, the Atlanta Hawks met the Washington Wizards in the Eastern Conference semi-finals after both teams knocked off the Brooklyn Nets and the Toronto Raptors in the first round respectively. The Wizards took Game 1 in Atlanta but an injury to John Wall’s hand marred the victory. Wall would sit out Games 2, 3, and 4 with the injury before returning for Game 5 but clearly wasn’t 100%. The series was tied at 2-2 when Wall returned and the Wizards would go on to drop Games 5 and 6 as the Hawks advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

While the Hawks celebrated their trip to the Conference Finals, the Wizards were left to wonder what could’ve been had John Wall been healthy. The Wizards believed, had Wall been healthy, they would’ve advanced to the Conference Finals.

“In my opinion, we should’ve won 4-1.”

— Bradley Beal

“You take away Al Horford or Jeff Teague from their team for three games, the series would be totally different. I’m a big key to this team. This team can still do great things without me. Those guys competed and gave themselves a chance to win. But I feel like if I was there we would have had a better opportunity of winning the series and probably could have went up 2-0 on the road like the Toronto series and came home with some momentum, and tried to close these guys out. But everything happens for a reason.”

— John Wall

“Healthy John. That’s all we’re missing. I think if he played all the games, I think we’d still be in the season today. That’s my opinion.”

— Marcin Gortat

And to close out:

“I give them credit. I always give a team credit. I give Atlanta credit. That’s a tremendous team. They’ve been playing like that all year. They’ve been playing great basketball. But whenever you’re playing against me, even if you beat me, I’m a sore loser. They didn’t really beat us.”

— Bradley Beal

“They didn’t really beat us”…

Those quotes came a few days after the Wizards exited the playoffs but I can’t imagine those feelings are much different now. The Wizards’ feelings about the 2015 playoffs are clear.

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RECAP: Suns 102, Hawks 95

Bo Churney —  March 25, 2014

FINAL

PHX(42-29) 102 – 95 (31-38)ATL  

Key Performers:
E. Bledsoe (PHX): 20 pts, 6 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl
D. Carroll (ATL): 19 pts, 4 reb
[FULL BOX SCORE]

Well, after winning five in a row after that awful losing stretch, the Hawks are back on the wrong side of the result with a third straight loss against Phoenix. The Hawks were leading at halftime, but the Suns outscored the Hawks 35-23 in the third quarter, largely behind Goran Dragic, who had 14 points in the quarter. Gerald Green then closed the game in the fourth quarter, scoring nine points over a stretch that gave turned the Phoenix lead from four into 10 with just five minutes left in the game. The Hawks are just 2.5 games ahead of the New York Knicks for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Reaction Grades: [assessed 0-10]

Paul Millsap: Millsap was really defended well by the Suns, but he was able to get some work in at the free throw line, going 7-for-10 from the stripe. He was only 6-for-14 from the field though and a lot of his makes weren’t from easy attempts. Suns made him work hard for the buckets. 7/10

Jeff Teague: Teague and the entire team were really dominated by Dragic and Bledsoe. They did a good job at cutting off passing lanes and as a result, the Hawks only had 18 assists on the night. Part of that was also fouls (the Hawks got to the line 33 times, Teague seven times), but credit to the Suns’ defense for making the Hawks work the shot clock on a lot of possessions. 6/10

Pero Antic: Pero was only 2-for-6 from the field, but there was a moment in the first half where it looked like he was heat-checking on shots… Pretty sure Coach Budenholzer didn’t appreciate Pero taking tough shots like that early in the shot clock. 3/10

DeMarre Carroll: DeMarre scored 19 points on just eight shots, which is probably one of the best offensive games of his career. Really unfortunate that the Hawks kind of wasted this kind of game from him. 9/10

Shelvin Mack: Per the usual, conservative ball-handling game for Shelvin, who netted six assists and only one turnover, but 2-for-9 from the field is not what the Hawks need out of their starting shooting guard spot. Hawks could really use Korver back in the lineup. 5/10 Continue Reading…

FINAL

PHX(35-24) 129 – 120 (26-32)ATL

Key Performers:
G. Green (PHX): 33 pts, 3 reb
J. Teague (ATL): 29 pts, 6 reb, 9 ast, 2 stl
[FULL BOX SCORE]

That looked a little too much like a video game. Threes were being jacked up to no end (55 combined), Gerald Green defied every physical law in the book and the final score was reminiscent of an All-Star game. The Hawks were on the wrong end of this barnburner, falling victim to their own poor transition defense and allowing Phoenix to get out to an early first half lead. In the third quarter, the law of averages caught up to the Suns, who finally began missing some wide open looks. Atlanta cut their deficit to just one before subsequently giving up a 7-1 run, eventually keeping out of reach through the fourth quarter. There were some bright spots, however. Mike Muscala made his NBA debut, Jeff Teague had another strong offensive outing and in general the Hawks challenged a Western Conference Playoff team without their two best players, as well as Pero Antic.

Reaction grades [assessed 0-10]:

Jeff Teague: In arguably his best game of the season, Jeff Teague dropped 29 points, had nine assists and collected six boards on 14-21 shooting from the field. What stood out was ultimately what he’s lacked when playing badly: aggressiveness. Teague was pedal to the medal, heading all the way to the basket at every opportunity. A look at the shot chart confirms what my eye test saw, Teague took few jumpers. Four to be exact, with two around the free throw line. Teague also came up with a huge block on Shavlik Randolph in the closing quarter, topping off an inspiring performance by the enthused Teague. 10/10

DeMarre Carroll: Carroll was a bit out of place tonight, with the Suns pace seemingly being too much for him to handle. He wasn’t able to cause as much havoc on the defensive end as he normally does, but the major issue was on the offensive side of the ball. The up-and-down flow of the game had Carroll trying to do things with the basketball he shouldn’t, even though his statistics didn’t prove to be too poor at all: 3-5 shooting, 10 points. This just wasn’t Carroll’s cup of tea. 5/10

Kyle Korver: The streak is off to 126, as Kyle got that problem out of the way rather early. He hit four threes against the Celtics and finished with 17 points overall. He also had a weird, Dream Shake-ish looking up-and-under in the third quarter that I didn’t even know Kyle was capable of doing. 7/10

Elton Brand: Brand’s lack of mobility indirectly lead to the extra help by his teammates leading to the barrage of Phoenix treys, but he didn’t struggle with defending the interior when in the right spot or nailing his short mid-range jumpers. Brand was actually second on the team in +/- with a +2, scoring 13 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out four assists. 8/10

Mike Scott: Scott picked up the shooting slack with Millsap out of commission tonight, putting up a wholesome 18 field goal tries – half of which were threes – in a whopping 40 minutes of action. He connected on eight shots to finish with 20 points, a strong outing considering he’s taken this many shots in a game just once before in his entire career. He also contributed with 5 rebounds and 3 steals. 8/10 Continue Reading…