The Wizards were without their best player last night but for about forty minutes, they were able to keep game 2 competitive. Atlanta broke away late to win, 106-90, and tie the series at one game apiece.
My MindOnSport’s Troy Jefferson takes a look at the top ten reasons the Wizards loss game two.
1-3. No John Wall
- Can’t understate the importance of losing your best player. 17 points and 10 assists per game is hard to overcome. Ramon Sessions played admirably in John’s absence but the quality of shots the rest of the players got is where Wall was missed. So yes, not having John Wall was roughly a third of the reason the Wizards lost last night.
- Free throw disparity
- I wasn’t a fan of the refs last night… I know shocker. But in honesty, Washington could’ve forced the issue more by driving to the basket instead of settling for jumpers. Washington went to the line 14 times but only made eight (57%). On the other hand, Atlanta shot 25 times and at a higher percentage, 22 makes (88%). Wizards loss by 16 points and Atlanta had 14 extra makes from the free throw line.
- Al Horford and Paul Millsap stepped up
- In game one, Horford and Millsap combined to go 13/39 but in a game where the Wizards’ bigs had to step up minus John Wall, Atlanta’s big men were the ones who stepped up. Horford and Millsap went 14/31 on Tuesday and did a solid job defensively against Nene, Gortat and Gooden.
- Nene continued to struggle
- Hate to pile on Nene since I know he’s hearing it from talk show pundits but he’s been awful in these last two games and wasn’t very good against Toronto either. Defensively, I knew covering Toronto’s/ Atlanta’s stretch fours would be a tough task for a traditional power forward. But offensively is where Nene has really missed the mark, he’s 0-9 through two games.
- Atlanta won the turnover battle 16-10.
- Beal’s shot selection
- 15 of Beal’s 22 shots were either midrange jumpers or three pointers. “Troy, you wouldn’t be saying anything if he made them”… you’re right but he didn’t, in fact he only made six of those 15. Without Wall, I was hoping to see a more aggressive Beal. Breaking down opponents off the dribble is the next thing Beal needs to work on, too often he settled when he had a switch against one of Atlanta’s centers.
- Hawks bench
- Kent Bazemore was a thorn in the Wizards’ side last night, going a perfect 5-5 from the field/ free throw line. All in all, Atlanta’s bench outscored Washington’s 27-22.
- Wittman’s substitutions
- Wittman stuck too much to the script for me last night, Sessions was good but 40 minutes was a little much for me. Would’ve also like to see him give Humphries a nod, especially when Nene was struggling. I understand the playoffs isn’t the time for experimenting but I would’ve like to see a bit better distribution of minutes.