The extent of John Wall's injury might have caught Will Bynum off guard, but the Hawks are well aware that the Wizards might turn to Bynum going forward in this series.
“He’s been a veteran in the NBA for a while," Hawks guard Jeff Teague said following Friday's practice. "We know he’s very capable of getting hot and having a big night. We’ve definitely been watching a lot of film on him."
No doubt only a miniscule portion of that film work involved games from this season. Bynum has played four minutes in the playoffs - none in two games against the Hawks. His only significant minutes since signing with the Wizards in late March came in three games coach Randy Wittman rested starters late in the regular season.
The last minute nature of Wall becoming inactive before Game 2 didn't leave time for a full-blown game plan without their point guard. Ramon Sessions moved into the starting lineup. Wittman used Garrett Temple, a lengthy defensive option, as the lone reserve guard.
On Wednesday, Wittman said Bynum was good to go if needed despite lack of game time because of solid work with the second unit during practice. Following Thursday's practice, the coach was asked what the Wizards would miss most should Wall miss additional games.
"Here's the thing I don't want us to do," he said. "I don't want anybody to try and be John Wall. Ramon has to be Ramon. Will has to be Will. They're not going to be John. We're not going to have that."
During Wall's media session Thursday, he was asked what changes with the offense without him running it: "You should know the answer to that one. I can’t really break it down to you. You can’t tell nobody to go out there and be me. I want these guys, Ramon, Will and Temp, whoever gets in that point guard position, just be yourself."
Over his career, Bynum provided value as a quick-strike scorer. Atlanta knows this more than most. Bynum's 11.8 points per game against the Hawks is his second-highest average against any NBA team. Don't be surprised if the 6-foot guard with quickness, sneaky power and a solid mid-range game plays a larger role in Game 3.
Black and White
The referees for Game 3: Joey Crawford, Bennett Salvatore, Zach Zarba. For those curious, here's the record for the Wizards and Hawks in games with these officials this season (via Covers.com):
Crawford: Wizards (1-4), Hawks (2-2)
Salvatore: Wizards (2-1), Hawks (4-0)
Zarba: Wizards (5-2), Hawks (5-0)
- Crawford is the only one of the referees to work a Wizards-Hawks game during the regular season. Specifically, Atlanta's 105-96 victory on Feb. 4. One notable aspect of the game: Marcin Gortat fouled out for the only time in 82 games played this season.
All the point guard focus this series is on John Wall for obvious reasons. That probably works for Jeff Teague, who has been battling a right ankle sprain, because he's been kind of a mess offensively through two games: 7-26 from the field (26.9 percent) and 1 of 6 from beyond the arc. The numbers when pitted directly against Sessions in Game 2, even worse: 0 for 5 FG including two misses from deep.
Whether it's the ankle or Washington's defense or personal preference, Teague has turned into a one-sided player through two games:
— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) May 9, 2015