The Atlanta Hawks are struggling mightily right now and the landscape doesn’t get easier for the team on Wednesday evening. With Paul Millsap and Kent Bazemore out of the lineup for the third consecutive contest, the Hawks must travel to the nation’s capital to face the Washington Wizards in a battle of Southeast Division rivals.
Washington leads the season series 2-1 after a decisive 112-86 victory on Jan. 27 but the Wizards actually enter this game facing some struggles of their own. John Wall and company have dropped four of their last five games to slip into a perilous situation with regard to the No. 3 seed in the standings and that will likely facilitate an urgent effort from the home team.
As for the Hawks, the shorthanded roster paints a bleak picture for this particular contest. Even with all things equal, the Wizards would be a solid favorite to win this game based on the friendly venue and their overall baseline. Throw in the fact that Atlanta is now 0-5 without Millsap on the season and the hill becomes more substantial.
With that in mind, the Hawks are currently 7-point underdogs in the game and FiveThirtyEight provides Atlanta with just a 22 percent likelihood of victory. The path to a win could materialize should Dennis Schröder play John Wall to a draw (or something approaching one) while the rest of the Hawks defend at a high level against the suddenly uneven Wizards. Still, the defense has waned without its centerpiece on the floor in Millsap and it will be interesting to see how Atlanta responds when facing more adversity in this spot.
Stay tuned throughout the day for updates and prepare for a nationally televised battle between (likely) playoff-bound teams.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, March 22, 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Verizon Center, Washington D.C.
TV: ESPN, Fox Sports Southeast
Radio: 92.9 “The Game”