Should the Washington Wizards be the Eastern Conference favorites? It's a tad premature to say that but the Wizards have looked very impressive in these playoffs. They swept four games from the higher-seeded Toronto Raptors and then took Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals series against the team with the best record in the East in Atlanta. However, the Hawks are 6-point favorites for Tuesday's Game 2 at Sportsbook.com with a total of 212.
Wizards Banged Up
The big question for Tuesday is how healthy the Wizards stellar backcourt of Bradley Beal and John Wall are. Beal turned his ankle in Game 1 and Wall hurt his wrist. Both looked pretty serious but both did eventually play through it. Beal came down on Al Horford's foot after a jump shot. He still had a game-high 28 points and seven rebounds and chased Kyle Korver into 5-for-15 shooting on the defensive end. Beal, who missed time just before and after the All-Star break because of a recurring stress reaction in his lower right leg, had an X-ray that came back negative.
"That's probably the worst I've ever turned it. Off the rip you always think of the worst because you're in so much pain," he said. "I knew after I was able to walk to the bench I knew I was going to be able to come back. Re-taping it and just being mentally tough. I can't let my team down. Even if I'm not a threat, I still can be a decoy. You have to have the heart, the will and mentality that you're going go do anything it takes to win."
Wall was hurt when he stole the ball and fell in transition attempting a layup at 3:03 of the second quarter. Beal landed on him to put back the miss. Wall rolled around on the floor while the Hawks scored a basket the other way and a timeout was called. Wall finished with 18 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds and three blocks and totally outplayed fellow All-Star Jeff Teague.
Early indications are that X-rays were negative on Wall's wrist but the team has yet to officially update his status. "My wrist will be alright. If it ain't broke I'll play through anything," Wall said. "It's more in my hand now. The pressure went to my hand."
Wall has recorded four straight playoff double doubles the last Washington player to record at least four straight double doubles in the playoffs was Moses Malone spanning April 1987 to April 1988 when he posted five straight. -Wall is the only player averaging at least 17 points and 10 assists in the playoffs.
Wiz Comfortable On Road
The Wizards became the first team in NBA history to win four straight Game 1’s on the road. The Wizards won Game 1 at Chicago, April 20, 2014, Game 1 at Indiana, May 5, 2014, Game 1 at Toronto, April 18, 2015 and Game 1 at Atlanta, May 3, 2015. -The Wizards have won five straight playoff games for the first time in franchise history. With the Game 1 win, the Wizards improved to 8-1 on the road in the playoffs over the last two seasons.
The 2015 NBA Playoffs marks the third time Atlanta and Washington have met in the postseason. Washington was victorious in both previous playoff series against the Hawks. The Wizards won in the first round in 1978 (2-0) and in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 1979 (4-3). The Hawks are 3-7 all-time against Washington in the playoffs (1-4 at home and 2-3 on the road.
Atlanta remains a -120 series favorite with Washington at even. Those numbers will change big time if the Wizards take a 2-0 lead heading home.
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