Washington Wizards: 5 Takeaways From Game 2 Against Hawks

Apr 16, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots as Atlanta Hawks forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) looks on during the second half in game one of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards are heating up as they came away victorious over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 2, 109-101, for their second win of the series.

Look out Eastern Conference, the Washington Wizards mean business. After a second consecutive victory over the Atlanta Hawks in their first round playoff series, the Wizards may make this a quick round.

John Wall and Bradley Beal are becoming unstoppable, Brandon Jennings had an clutch fourth quarter and Marcin Gortat is making Dwight Howard look mediocre at best. Here are a few takeaways from Wednesday night’s game.

Smothering Defense And Physicality

The Wizards displayed a particular hunger and physicality during Game 1 against the Atlanta Hawks. Ultimately it led to victory and a sign of things to come.

It has become clear after Game 2 that the Wizards are not to be taken lightly. Among Washington’s starters, 16 personal fouls were committed. This would turn out to be a hefty payoff and prove to be exhausting and frustrating for the Atlanta Hawks.

John Wall’s Never-Ending Tank

John Wall has set the tone for the series and it is one of vengeance. After each drive to the basket and the camera panning toward Wall after scoring, the trash talk was easily visible. For those able to read lips, his language was colorful. He was indeed trying to get into Dennis Schroder‘s head fast and early.

Schroder played a decent game, scoring 21 points and shooting 8-for-21, but he failed to produce from beyond the arc, shooting a miserable 1-for-8. John Wall capitalized on his opportunities and continues to evolve into the highly efficient scoring machine he is intent on being. With excellent shot selection, Wall finished with 32 points shooting 9-for-20 and 2-for-2 from downtown.

Brandon Jennings Clutch Shooting In Fourth Quarter

The Wizards are the sixth team Brandon Jennings has joined in his career and hopefully he’s found himself a team he can call home. After being waived by the New York Knicks and joining Washington for only 23 games, Jennings finds himself on a team in the postseason.

Coming off the bench for a player like John Wall can be tough when it comes to earning minutes. Brandon Jennings performed just the way he needed to to bring the Wizards out of a daze after being outscored 35-23 in the third quarter.

On a series of plays early in the fourth quarter, Jennings scored six crucial points in just over two minutes. His step-back jumper was absolutely lethal, and would tie the game before being sent to the bench for Wall to return. Brandon Jennings completed his night shooting 4-of-5 and contributed four rebounds, two assists and one block.

Marcin Gortat Has Made Dwight Howard Irrelevent

This is the exact shut down defense that was needed for the Washington Wizards to succeed in this series. Marcin Gortat earned himself his second double-double of the series scoring 14 points and nabbing 10 rebounds.

Shutting down Dwight Howard is normally easier said than done, but Gortat is getting the job done and making it look easy. Howard played only 19 ineffective minutes, scoring only six points. He would also be limited to grabbing only seven rebounds and turned the ball over four times.

Solid All-Around Team Play

It is easy to point out the positives from the stars of the Washington Wizards. Bradley Beal had much better shot selection during Game 2 as opposed to Game 1. Scoring 31 points, Beal shot 12-for-27 from the floor and 4-for-10 from downtown. He is shining bright next to John Wall and they will continue to grow together as they are already a wrecking ball of offense and havoc.

Jason Smith had a solid outing and played with hustle and attitude. He nearly posted a double-double in his 27 minutes of playing time. This included eight points, eight rebounds and one block. The Wizards as a team are playing well all-around and contributions from Jason Smith and Brandon Jennings off the bench were clutch during Game 2.

The Washington Wizards are up 2-0 in their first round series against the Atlanta Hawks and will seek a third straight victory Friday for their first away game of the series.

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