The Washington Wizards will host the Atlanta Hawks in a Southeast Division showdown on Sunday. The Wizards currently stand at 15-29 while the Hawks are an Eastern Conference-worst 11-35.
The Wizards played well in their last game, a 124-112 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Bradley Beal scored 36 points in one of his best games this season and Davis Bertans had a strong performance off the bench, posting 17 points in 27 minutes. Washington has been playing much better as of late, winning two of their last three games. Their only loss over that span came during a hard-fought match-up where they just couldn’t get the job done in overtime against the Miami Heat.
Meanwhile, the Hawks are coming off a 140-111 drubbing at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder’s trio of point guards (Chris Paul, Dennis Schröder, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander) combined for 63 points against newly-minted All-Star Trae Young.
The Wizards are surprisingly only 3.5 games out of the playoffs despite having nearly two times more losses than wins. The Wizards have a cushy schedule before the All-Star Game including match-ups against the Knicks, Hornets, Warriors, and Bulls. An emphatic win against the lowly Hawks could boost the players at the right time and help set the team on a playoff path.
This game could not be happening at a more interesting time, as only a few days ago Bradley Beal was snubbed in favor of Trae Young for the honor of All-Star Game starter. This means that both players will have something to prove on the offensive and defensive end when they face off. While Young has the stats on paper over Beal, he also is on the worst team in the East and one could argue Beal has been much more important to his team’s success. Whichever star prevails Sunday may end up dictating the team that wins this game.
- Davis Bertans has finally been getting back up to speed, posting 17 and 24 points in his last two games. Can he continue this trend and start to provide the value the Wizards had come to expect out of the Latvian Laser before he went down with a quad injury?
- Ish Smith has arguably been a better player than Isaiah Thomas for the better part of a month. Will he continue to outplay the Wizards’ starting point guard on Sunday against Trae? If so, at what point will Scott Brooks finally look to make a lineup change?
Wizards: Rui Hachimura (groin), Garrison Mathews (sprained right ankle), Moritz Wagner (sprained left ankle), John Wall (left Achilles rehab) are all out.
Hawks: Hawks: DeAndre’ Bembry (right hand neuritis) is doubtful. Alex Len (right hip flexor strain), Jabari Parker (right shoulder impingement), Chandler Parsons (concussion, whiplash) are all out.
Spread: Hawks -0.5
Money Line: Wizards -109, Hawks -109