Atlanta Hawks: 3 Takeaways From Game 1 Loss To Wizards

The Atlanta Hawks ran out of answers for the high powered offense of the Washington Wizards Sunday afternoon during a 114-107 loss. Here are three takeaways from the Game 1 loss.

Despite connecting on just 33.3 percent of their shot attempts in the first 24 minutes of Sunday’s series opening contest against the Atlanta Hawks carried a three-point advantage at halftime against the Washington Wizards.

Once the second half of the contest began, Markieff Morris buried a 3-pointer on the first Wizards possession, sparking a 38-point quarter as Atlanta never truly threatened after letting its lead slip away early in the third quarter.

Let’s break down some of the key aspects of Sunday’s Game 1 loss for the Atlanta Hawks.

Third-Quarter Collapse

There was no secret to the catalyst behind Washington’s offense that scored 109.2 points per game, the fifth-highest mark in the league.

All-Star point guard John Wall was mostly held in check by the Atlanta Hawks throughout the regular season.

In four meetings, Wall averaged 18.5 points per game, but needed to attempt 17.5 shots per game as he was held to 32.9 percent shooting from the field.

Wall shifted the momentum of the entire game during a dominant third quarter, as he attacked the rim with ease, either creating layup opportunities for himself or open looks on the perimeter for teammates.

The Wizards turned a three-point deficit at halftime into a seven-point advantage entering the fourth quarter as Wall played magnificent basketball.

The 6-foot-4 guard totaled 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, four assists and four rebounds.

Even the Hawks’ Twitter account ran out of ideas for defending Wall.

The superb effort was part of a playoff career-high 32-point outing from Wall, as he dished out a game-high 14 assists to go along with four rebounds and an emphatic chase-down block on a layup attempt from Dennis Schroder.

The scoring and passing of Wall generated 62 points on the night for Washington, 54.4 percent of the total offense.

Following the third-quarter outburst from Wall, the Hawks never seriously threatened Washington again.

Costly Turnovers

The Atlanta Hawks committed 19 turnovers, continuing a problem that plagued the team throughout the regular season.

Atlanta turned the ball over an average of 15.2 times per game during the 2016-17 campaign, a figure only surpassed by Brooklyn (15.9) and Philadelphia (16), the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference.

All 11 players that checked into the game for Atlanta turned the ball over at least once, with Dwight Howard finishing the game as the only starter with less than two turnovers.

Part of the reason Wall was able to provide such an impact in the game was his ability to create points off mistakes by the Hawks in transition. The Wizards finished the game with 25 points off fast breaks,

In the first half alone, Atlanta committed 12 turnovers, leading to 17 fast-break points from Washington.

Seemingly anytime the Hawks poised a comeback attempt, a turnover killed the momentum.

During a contest that featured just two ties and a pair of lead changes, the 19 turnovers prohibited Atlanta from sustaining a rally.

Lineup Adjustment Fails to Make an Impact

Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer tweaked his starting lineup for the postseason, opting to play Tim Hardaway Jr. along with rookie Taurean Prince in an attempt to give the team a scoring boost.

Prince supplanted Thabo Sefolosha in the starting lineup and provided the defensive impact expected, as he limited Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. to just 10 points.

Replacing Kent Bazemore with Hardaway in the starting lineup didn’t provide a similar impact.

Hardaway was dominant during the final 33 games of the season, as he averaged 18 points on 47.4 percent shooting from the field since the start of February.

With the Hawks ranking 27th in offensive rating during the regular season, the team turned to Hardaway to combat the Wizards powerful offense.

Only he failed to provide an impact Sunday afternoon.

Hardaway connected on just 2-of-11 attempts from the field and missed each of his six attempts from beyond the arc, part of the reason why the Hawks shot just 28 percent from 3-point range in the game.

In his first career playoff start, Hardaway scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds in 28 minutes.

The struggles of Hardaway were magnified when Atlanta lost the scoring battle in the paint.

The perceived advantage Atlanta boasted in the series, with the frontcourt pairing of All-Star forward Paul Millsap and Howard, was negated by the physical play of Morris and Marcin Gortat.

Both Gortat and Morris attacked the rim throughout the contest, while the Hawks’ duo combined for just 26 points.

Atlanta was outscored in the paint 54-46, just another factor during its Game 1 loss.

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