After getting off to an impressive 2-0 start against the Atlanta Hawks in this best out of seven series, the Washington Wizards have lost 2 straight now tying the series at 2-2. After the last 2 games, John Wall and Bradley Beal are averaging 47.5 points per game. The bench hasn’t been showing up as much as they need them to. The only viable threat that has presented itself off the bench is Bojan Bogdanovic. The last two games, he had an 11-point effort during game 3, in which the bench only scored 15 for the entire game. Bogdanovic had a solid 13-point output during game 4. As we have all seen, the bench really needs to step in order for Washington to close out this series.
Bradley Beal is averaging 22 points per game in this series while John Wall is averaging 25.2 points. There needs to be more help from others so the team can remain a threat while those two are off the floor. At the end of the third quarter and through the first 3 minutes of the fourth, the Wizards seemed to struggle mightily without Wall and Beal. Bogdanovic was the only player knocking down shots and the pace also suffered as a result of that.
If the bench continues to show signs of low production, expect Scott Brooks to take a page out of Terry Stotts’ book. He might attempt to use Wall and Beal the same way Stotts uses Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Throughout the Golden State series, it was a very rare occasion to sit both McCollum and Lillard at the same time. If Brooks takes this approach, it could result in a bit of success for the Wizards.
This would give them a valuable scoring option at all times. Washington would most definitely see a decrease in scoring droughts. With two minutes left in the third quarter of game four, both Beal and Wall sat down. At the time, the Wizards were down three. By the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter, Washington was down 12 before a media timeout. That time that both of them were out ruined the Wizards chance to get into the game.
Along with the bench woes, The Wizards back up big man, Ian Mahinmi, has been out the last four games with a strained calf. There is a lot of speculation that he will return before the end of the series. It is safe to say it misses his presence in that second unit. Once he returns, we will see some much needed production off the bench. The Wizards are in hopes of closing out this series and preparing to go head-to-head with the Boston Celtics or Chicago Bulls. Both teams are currently tied at 2-2 as game five heads back to Boston. The Wiz-kids need to pick it up now rather than later if they want to push a the No. 1 seeded-Celtics to seven games.
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