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Morning tip: Wizards succeed in smothering Hawks' 3-point shooting

Morning tip: Wizards succeed in smothering Hawks' 3-point shooting

The best players have done their part for the Wizards in a first-round series with the Atlanta Hawks, with John Wall and Bradley Beal leading the way, but the second units of both teams have yet to break out.

It's that second unit for the Hawks that is supposed to be so lethal with frontline shooters Mike Dunleavy, Ersan Ilyasova and Mike Muscala spreading the floor to the three-point arc.

All three have been non-entities with their combined Games 1 and 2 totals: Muscala (3-for-11, 10 points); Dunleavy (1-for-2, four points); and Ilyasova (4-for-9, 11 points).

“They're doing a better job of guarding us. Simple as that. I mean they're taking away our three-point shooters," said Paul Millsap, Atlanta's best player and only current All-Star. "They're not helping as much but I think that's why me and Dennis (Schroder) were able to get to the basket a lot but eventually, we're going to need that. Eventually, we're going to need to loosen that up. Continue to attack them and make them come out of whatever defense they're in.” 

[RELATED: Wizards must fix Brandon Jennings' defense ASAP]

The key to shutting down the motion offense of the Hawks is to pressure the ball, jump the screens and anticipate the curls before they happen. The Wizards have been a step ahead of the curve and have done well to trail the shooters to keep them off the arc. 

Beal, for instance, has come off screens cleanly and just missed. The Hawks have shot a combined 11-for-45, or 24.4%, from three-point range. Their inside game with Dwight Howard has been neutralized (because of Marcin Gortat with Otto Porter helping rebound) and the ball pressure has created 37 turnovers.

The Wizards are 10-1 in first-round playoff games with Wall and Beal, and the only defeat came in a heated Game 3 with the Chicago Bulls at Verizon Center.

The player that hurt them wasn't Jimmy Butler who was the best player on the team. It was Dunleavy, who notched 35 points by making 8 of 10 three-point shots.

In the NBA, second-unit players have a tendency to play better at home than on the road. Game 3 is at Phillips Arena on Saturday.

Wall and Beal will have to continue their high level of play, but the Wizards might need even more defense to get them a 3-0 lead.

[RELATED: Marcin Gortat's rebirth huge for Wizards vs. Hawks in playoffs]

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How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

How to watch Pistons at Wizards ‘Predict the Game’ broadcast

The Washington Wizards return to Capital One Arena to host the Detroit Pistons on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day at 2 p.m. 

The Wizards are hoping to not only bounce back after suffering from a tough 140-111 loss in Toronto Friday night but also to snap their losing streak at home. Monday’s game will be the Wizards last home, before hitting the road until they return home on January 30th. 

The Wizards currently lead the series 2-1, the Wizards won both matchups against the Pistons on Nov.4 and Dec. 16. However, most recently the Wizards fell short 132-102 on Dec 26th. Will the Wizards be able to win the season series on Monday?

Take your Wizards experience to the next level and get involved in the action with NBC Sports Washington's newest Predict the Game contest.

'PREDICT THE GAME' HOW TO WATCH

What is this broadcast? Predict the Game is an easy-to-enter, free contest that allows fans to predict various game and player performance outcomes through a series of approximately 12-15 questions per quarter that will appear on-screen during the alternate telecast on NBC Sports Washington Plus. Predict the Game leaderboards will be displayed at select times, and the winner of each contest will be revealed throughout the game and during NBC Sports Washington’s postgame coverage.

Where can I find it? Contest questions and leaderboards will be displayed on NBC Sports Washington Plus (Channel Finder).

Additionally, the broadcast can be streamed on desktopiOS and Android devices. 

The NBC Sports Washington Plus presentation will, for the first time, feature special hosts, who will appear at various times to address Predict the Game participants and provide contest updates, information and results. The enhanced experience will contain the majority of the same video and audio (including announcers) as the primary live-game coverage, which will be available simultaneously on NBC Sports Washington.

How do I win? Fans will earn points for both answering questions (1 point) and correct predictions (1 or 2 points, depending on the question), with the top eligible scorer at the end of each game earning or splitting the $500 prize.

Each quarter will be its own contest, with an entirely new leaderboard starting from scratch, so even if fans miss out on the start of the game there will still be plenty of time to play and win. 

Fans must enter Predict the Game, which is open to join throughout the entire game, and submit their predictions at www.nbcsportswashington.com/predict.

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 2:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards vs. Pistons will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards vs. Pistons on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS vs. PISTONS TV SCHEDULE

1:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

1:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

2:00 PM: Wizards vs. Pistons (LIVE)

4:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

5:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

5:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS 2019-20 'PREDICT THE GAME' SCHEDULE

January 6: vs Boston (7 p.m.)

January 20: vs Detroit (2 p.m.)

January 26: at Atlanta (6 p.m.)

February 3: vs Golden State (7 p.m.)

February 11: vs Chicago (7 p.m.)

February 21: vs Cleveland (7 p.m.)

February 26: vs Brooklyn (7 p.m.)

March 3: at Sacramento (10 p.m.)

March 10: vs New York (7 p.m.)

March 18: at Brooklyn (7:30 p.m.)

March 15: vs Phoenix (7 p.m.)

April 1: vs New Orleans (7 p.m.)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

According to The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II, Steph Curry is aiming to return to play on March 1 when the Golden State Warriors host the Washington Wizards.

This game will be second of a four-game West coast swing, starting in Utah and hitting San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland before returning home.

Curry has been sidelined since Oct. 30 with a broken left hand. He had surgery on Nov. 1 and was ruled out at least three months.

If he does indeed return on March 1, he could play in 22 more regular season games this year. There were rumors that he would sit the entire season, but apparently Curry is focused on a return this spring, according to more from Thompson II. 

"I've been making progress," Curry said via NBC Sports Bay Area during the Warriors game vs Orlando on Saturday. "No setbacks which is definitely encouraging to get back to 100% as soon as possible."

The Wizards vs Warriors game will tipoff at 8:30 p.m. EST.

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