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Playoff preview: Wizards-Hawks matchup set


Playoff preview: Wizards-Hawks matchup set

Matchup: No. 1 Atlanta Hawks v. No. 5 Washington Wizards 

Season series: Hawks 3-1. Atlanta won the first three meetings by an average of 14.7 points and then rested all its starters for the finale.

Playoff path: Atlanta defeated No 8 Brooklyn 4-2; Washington swept No. 4 Toronto 4-0

Schedule: Game 1 tips at 1:00 p.m. Sunday in Atlanta. Click here for the entire schedule.

Head-to-head leaders:

Wizards - Scoring (John Wall 21.0, Bradley Beal 16.3), Rebounding (Marcin Gortat 7.8), Assists (John Wall 9.8)

Hawks - Scoring (Jeff Teague 21.7, Al Horford 14.3), Rebounding (Al Horford 7.7), Assists (Jeff Teague 7.0)

Star matchup: Facing Jeff Teague means a second straight matchup for John Wall against an All-Star point guard. Wall handled Kyle Lowry with ease in round one, but the quick Teague was something of a pest for Washington during the regular season. 

Key matchup: The Hawks spread the court with shooters at all positions, including up front with center Al Horford and forward Paul Millsap. That puts Wizards big men Marcin Gortat and Nene in chase mode away from the basket, which is hardly ideal. Washington can counter by using Paul Pierce and Drew Gooden as stretch-4's, but can either of them handle Millsap's inside-outside game?

Key stats: The Wizards cranked up the scoring and perimeter punch against the Raptors, but were on the short end against the Hawks during the regular season. Atlanta averaged more points (8.7), 3-pointers made (4.0) and attempted (8.2) in the lead-to-head series. Led by Kyle Korver, the Hawks also shot 39 percent from beyond the arc.


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Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

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Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

With a march on Washington planned for this weekend following the mass shooting in Parkland, FL, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were invited by the Wizards to attend their Friday morning practice at Capital One Arena.

About 20 of the kids showed up to watch the Wizards practice, took pictures with players, got a tour of the facilities and walked away with Wizards hats and gear. It was a small break away from what has been a tumultous time ever since the massacre at their school on Feb. 14.

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis was on hand to speak with the students, who are set to lead the 'March For Our Lives' through downtown Washington on Saturday.


Wizards guard Bradley Beal met with the media after taking photos with the students.

"For us to be able to take their mind off of it for just a few minutes is always a great feeling," Beal said. "At the end of the day, we're all human beings regardless of our careers are and what our jobs are. A lot of us have families, kids, brothers and sisters. The last thing that you want to happen is what happened to several of those families. You can never imagine."

Beal went to college in Florida and has participated in his own forms of activism. He has found inspiration in the efforts by Stoneman Douglas students. They have taken what happened to their school as a catalyst for what they hope produces change in the ability to protect similar attacks from happening again.


Beal, 24, finds that admirable.

"It's amazing sometimes to learn from the youth on how to do things," Beal said. "It's a testament to where our world needs to lead to, to where we need to get to and to come together as a society. It starts with us as the younger generation. We've gotta come together with love and do things like this. I think what they're doing is awesome. It's spreading positive vibes and it's true humanitarian work that they're doing."

The Stoneman Douglas students are expected to attend Friday night's Wizards-Nuggets game as well.

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Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

The relationship between Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Bullets legend Phil Chenier goes beyond your average friendship between a current and former player, or a current player and team broadcaster.

Beal and Chenier are close to the point Chenier often offers advice as a fellow shooting guard who helped lead the organization to some of their most important accomplishments.

Beal is always open ears when Chenier is talking and took great honor in being the one to tell Chenier personally that his jersey would be retired by the Wizards.

The day has come for Chenier's No. 45 to be raised to the rafters and Beal feels a unique sense of pride in seeing a man he reveres to the highest degree finally have his day in the sun.

"It's unbelievable. It's more than deserving," Beal said. "I was happy to be the one who told him about it. It's a special night for him. He's been a mentor to a lot of us for many years."


Chenier was a three-time All-Star for the Washington Bullets back in the 1970s. Following his playing career, he became a legendary broadcaster calling Bullets and then Wizards games for over 30 years.

Beal is now an NBA All-Star himself, having earned the honor for the first time this season. He is a shooting guard, just like Chenier.

Chenier was the color analyst for Wizards games for the first five years of Beal's career and Beal has always seen Chenier as a model to follow both on and off the court.

"It's always motivation for me to get better and I feel like this is the final touch of it, having your jersey retired by the franchise that you played a part in their success," Beal said.


The honor Chenier is about to receive is another goal to strive for. Beal wants to achieve a lot of what Chenier has accomplished in his life from winning a championship to making All-NBA to now having his jersey hang in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

"It definitely motivates me for that to be a goal of mine. Especially with the fact we both play the same position," Beal said.


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For more on Chenier's jersey retirement, check out our in-depth interview with him on the Wizards Tipoff podcast: