Washington (34-35) at Atlanta (41-29)
When: Monday, March 21st 2016
Where: Philips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Time: 8:05 ET | TV: CSN Mid-Atlantic, FSN Southeast
The Washington Wizards hope to continue their push towards an Eastern Conference Playoff spot when they visit the equally hot Atlanta Hawks on Monday. Washington has followed up a six-game losing streak by winning their last four, but had trouble in their last two with the lowly Knicks and 76ers. Washington overcame an 18-point, first-half deficit in Saturday’s 99-89 triumph over the Knicks as all five starters scored in double figures and point guard John Wall recorded his fifth straight double-double. The win put the Wizards with a game and a half of the eighth and final spot in the East behind Chicago and Detroit. Washington is starting a home-and-home with Atlanta tonight with another game on Wednesday in D.C. and another game to close out the season on April 13th. Wizards G Bradley Beal (pelvis) played for the third time in the last seven games on Saturday and managed 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting in 32 minutes. This is a crucial week for Washington as Sunday they start a brutal five-game West Coast trip that will take them to Golden State and the L.A. Clippers.
The Hawks are one of the hottest teams going right now winners of eight of their last nine and five in a row. Atlanta is in a dog-fight with Miami and Boston for the third-seed in the East and home-court advantage in the first round of the Playoffs. Atlanta is coming off an impressive defensive performance in their victory of Houston on Saturday holding the Rockets to just 39.3% shooting in the 109-97 win. Al Horford scored 22 points and pulled down 9 rebounds and is shooting 59.6% from the floor in the last seven games. Tim Hardaway, Jr. has been a pleasant surprise off the bench lately. He’s scored 41 points the last two games and is 7-of-11 from three-point land in those games. Hardaway sat out 31 of the Hawks first 35 games this season before proving himself a valuable contributor. The Hawks pulled away from Washington in their meeting in Atlanta on November 7th by scoring 39 fourth quarter points in the 114-99 win.
Washington has been inconsistent all season, but ride them when they’re hot. Atlanta is going to be the overwhelming public choice in this one and will probably win the game, but I think the Wizards offense keeps it close.
Pick: Wizards +6.5