Matchup: Washington Wizards (35-35) vs. Atlanta Hawks (41-30)
When: Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. (TV: CSN, CSNmidatlantic.com via NBC Sports Live Extra)
Season series: Split 1-1.
Recent: The Wizards rolled 117-102 Monday in Atlanta behind 52 combined points from guards John Wall and Bradley Beal for a season-high fifth straight win. With a victory Wednesday, Washington will have its longest streak since winning six in a row between Dec. 8-19.
Let's talk stats
Seeing as the Southeast Division foes will be playing for the second time in 48 hours, let's focus less on the head-to-head matchup and more on some specific and broad numbers.
* The Wizards are 6-1 when Bradley Beal scores at least 25 points
That's how many the starting wing guard scored Monday and did so with an efficient 10 of 15 shooting from the field. The interesting points here about Beal's points are:
1) How impressive the Wizards' record is when their top perimeter threat is getting buckets.
2) That he's only scored at least 25 points seven times in 45 games. That works out to 15.5 percent of Beal's games. By comparison, Golden State's Klay Thompson reached at least 25 points in 68 games (36,7%).
Injuries certainly factor into Beal's situation. Not only has he missed 25 games, but then there's the annoying yet needed minutes restriction. Beal played 34 minutes against the Hawks. Before that, he played 34 or more minutes just twice since Dec. 9. The minutes restriction isn't going away anytime soon. What the Wizards can do is maximize the time Beal is on the court. For the most part they have; Beal is averaging a career-high 17.3 field goal attempts per 36 minutes, not that he's actually playing 36 minutes in games much anymore.
* The Wizards are 14-4 when tallying 27 or more assists
Any team would benefit from a sharing-is-caring approach. That happens plenty thanks to the presence of All-Star guard John Wall. But the overall ball movement is noticeably improved during the current five-game winning streak. Having Beal back provides the starting unit with another capable playmaker and power forward Markieff Morris has proven to be both a willing and effective passer. Backup point guard Ramon Sessions is more scorer than facilitator, but the combination of Jared Dudley and Nene means the team's second and third best passers (we can debate which is which) are on the second unit. Washington is averaging 27.0 assists and shooting 49.1 percent from the during the five-game winning streak compared to 24 assists and 45.7 percent clip overall this season.
* The Wizards are 3-15 when Otto Porter doesn't make a 3-pointer
The good news is that the starting small forward is making the long bombs of late. Porter is shooting 45.5 percent beyond the arc in March and has made at least two in five of his last six games. If he's hitting those deep balls, this offense goes to the next level. That's because Porter is the starter the other team will concede shots to while attempting to either keep Wall out of the paint or stop Beal from getting clean looks or limit Marcin Gortat's pick-and-roll prowess or counter Morris' athleticism. Porter made those shots in the opening round of the 2015 postseason (5 of 10) and the Wizards swept the Raptors. That wasn't the only reason, but those 3's were more than just the cherry on top.
* The Hawks have lost four of their last five regular season games at Verizon Center
Of course none of those games were this season and Atlanta did win the last two postseason games in Chinatown last year. Still...By the way, the Hawks are the only top-10 in the East without a current winning streak of any length.
MORE WIZARDS: Managing Beal's minutes remains a challenge