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.