After having lost Game 2 without John Wall, the Wizards had to have Game 3 to keep home-court advantage in this second-round series with the Atlanta Hawks and for their own confidence. The 103-101 victory on Saturday, courtesy of Paul Pierce's buzzer-beating bank shot, accomplished just that:
- This is why Pierce is here. Go back to last season, in a second-round series with the Indiana Pacers, and look at home the Wizards struggled to get their own shot. The Pacers sent multiple defenders to keep Bradley Beal a non-factor and Wall couldn't get out in transition because they got back and loaded up on him. Pierce is better at creating his offense than Trevor Ariza, who he replaced when he left as a free agent last summer. Pierce has the three-point range, the mid-range, the ability to play at power forward in a small lineup and can create off the dribble. He doesn't need Wall on the floor to do what he does.
- Jeff Teague's questionable play will eventually result in more flagrants or technical fouls, especially if the Wizards decide to send him a message. He committed a Flagrant 1 on Beal that was a dangerous play. He then responded to Beal, who committed a common foul, and was given a technical. Teague, who contributed to Wall's wrist injury but taking out his legs on the fall that broke his wrist in Game 1, is the smallest player on the court. He probably should be reminded of that when he attacks the paint.
- The Hawks' health is a concern. Paul Millsap didn't look like himself because of flu-like symptoms which is why he didn't start Game 3. Al Horford left late in the game with an unspecified injury. Neither played in the fourth quarter.
- Kyle Korver only got off five shots because he can't create against the Wizards' lockdown perimeter defense. If it's not Bradley Beal, it's Otto Porter chasing him off the line or Garrett Temple and they're not giving him space. Korver made his only two three-pointers on broken plays that was the result of offensive rebounds. None of his made baskets came in the half-court so he only had six points. He was named an All-Star because the Hawks were so dominant in the East. But the clock is close to striking midnight.
- When Nene and Marcin Gortat play this way in combination (31 points on 13-for-16 shooting, 15 rebounds, seven assists and zero turnovers), the Wizards will always have the edge. Pero Antic can't defend either and Millsap and Horford are too small.