The Atlanta Hawks might be the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference, but they haven’t been displaying it in the semifinal series against Washington. Atlanta rebounded to even the series and now has an opportunity to take a 3-2 edge when it hosts the Wizards on Wednesday.
The Hawks regained their form in Game 4 but still had to survive a late miss by Paul Pierce to seal the victory. “Now we got to go back home and take care of business,” point guard Jeff Teague told reporters. “They beat us once on our home floor, so they’re comfortable playing there, but we got to make it a hostile environment.” There is a slim chance Washington point guard John Wall can return from a hand injury that has sidelined him the past three games. The Wizards would like to see him on the court as they are 5-0 when Wall has played in this season’s playoffs and 1-2 – all against the Hawks – when he doesn’t.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE WIZARDS: Wall tested his injured left hand by dribbling a basketball for the first time since last Thursday’s diagnosis of five non-displaced fractures in the hand and wrist. He is scheduled to again be examined by doctors and the team listed him as questionable for Game 5, even though it has never revealed a firm timetable for his return. “He’s again moving in the right direction,” Washington coach Randy Wittman told reporters. “Swelling is down again – minimal swelling. He wanted to dribble the ball a little bit and get the feel of it first.”
ABOUT THE HAWKS: Teague had his best showing in the series by contributing 26 points and eight assists in Game 4 after shooting just 12-of-41 from the field over the first three games. Power forward Paul Millsap also bounced back with a 19-point effort after having just eight in Game 3 due to illness and shooting 14-of-39 over the first three games. “That’s how we play,” Millsap told reporters about Atlanta’s performance in Game 4. “That’s how we’ve been playing all year. Things we didn’t do pretty much all series, we did (Monday).”
1. Washington SG Bradley Beal scored a personal playoff best 34 points in Game 4 and is averaging 24.8 points in the series.
2. Atlanta SG Kyle Korver has scored just six points in each of the last two games and is averaging 9.3 points in the series.
3. Pierce has made 16 3-pointers in this series and is 30-for-55 in eight postseason games.
PREDICTION: Hawks 105, Wizards 101