John Wall is once again a no go for the Wizards as they host the Hawks tonight in Washington. That didn't seem to matter too much in game three, when the Wizards raced out to a big lead, but the Hawks clawed their way back before Paul Pierce "I called game" banked in winner at the buzzer gave the Wizards the series advantage. Tonight the Hawks will look to even the series and, as importantly, get some of their guys going. The comeback on Saturday was engineered by their bench unit, which was excellent, but not sustainable. They need their star players--particularly Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague, to get going if they want to win this series; both of them are having a brutal time of it.
The Wizards are shooting the ball very well from three (41% on 25 attempts per game in the series), a departure from the regular season. Pierce is doing his thing, Otto Porter (6-14 from three in the series) has really emerged in this post-season, and Marcin Gortat is really helping on the interior. That said, even as poorly as the Hawks have looked for much of the playoffs, I still think the Wizards will struggle to win without Wall, who is just vital to what they do. Still, it has to start tonight for the Hawks or it could be too late.
This is quickly becoming a classic series. The Grizzlies ground out another win in game three, this one in their insanely loud home arena. As we noted last time, this is a great contrast in styles which can make for great basketball. The Grizzlies are forcing the Warriors into a pace they absolutely do not want (slow), and doing a great job contesting just about everything. Tony Allen has been an absolute monster, going by the name of "Firstteamalldefense" apparently, and the Warriors seemed to lose some confidence on Saturday, missing some open ones that usually go in.
The Grizz have made some hay offensively by going into their bigs, which is what they always do, and the Warriors are just a little undersized to handle them. Zach Randolph has averaged over 20 a night in the series, and was particularly impressive in game three, and Marc Gasol isn't far behind at 19 (with over 9 FTAs) per game.
Still, the Warriors are a team that can turn things around in the blink of an eye. Some shots start going in, they get on a run, and all of a sudden everything is right again for them. Stephen Curry is unlikely to continue at under 40% from the field and under 30% from three, though to be fair, he's taking even tougher shots than normal under the fierce Grizz defense. The Grizz are doing a great job stringing out his pick and roll game, and not letting him shake free off the dribble as he does so effectively. Draymond Green has been bizarrely quiet, and is shooting the ball very poorly. That, in addition to the turnovers the Grizzlies force (+10 in turnover differential) have told the story of the series so far.
This one has been fantastic; hopefully it continues tonight.