The first round of the playoffs often goes unnoticed unless you're a diehard fan. The Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards are in a dogfight for who gets to play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round. The early parts of the series looked like Washington was going to walk out with it, but a huge run in game 3 and four by the Hawks made this series suddenly a lot closer.

Shooting will be essential

In three out of their last four meetings, the team that shot a higher percentage from beyond the arc went on to win the game. This is especially huge for the Wizards. Washington doesn't live and die by the three, but they do need to make shots to create more room for John Wall.

Wall is like Russell Westbrook in the sense that he's an athletic freak coming into the lane and if the help defenders have to worry about shooters, Wall has more room to work with. When the Wizards aren't hitting it seems like there's no room at all to work.

Controlling tempo defensively

Both teams need to make sure their defense is on point. For the Hawks, it's all about containing John Wall. One big key here is that they need to switch Dennis Schroder off of Wall early on a bit so that they can avoid getting him in foul trouble. For the Wizards, playing defense, in general, is a must. "We just have to play defense. We have to stick together," said Washington's Markieff Morris via NBA.com.

Wall and Beal need help

John Wall and Bradley Beal are doing their best to carry this team through the series. They combined for 54 points in game four, but the next highest scorer was Porter with 13. Brandon Jennings, Kelly Oubre Jr, and Marcus Morris need to pile it in for the team. When two out of those three are being productive, the team is much, much better.

They made moves during the year to help their bench production, and now it needs to show.

Whatever it takes to win

For the Hawks, it's all about consistent scoring across the board. Paul Millsap might go off here and there, but this team thrives when everyone is working, and all the parts of the engine are clicking.

This starts with Millsap and ends with Bazemore. If Bazemore can help fuel the bench, then this Hawks team can threaten Washington. They've got them on their heels, and if you're the Hawks, it's time to go for the kill shot.

Good news for Washington is they still hold home court advantage through the last three games of the series, but they need this game five more than ever. Statistics show that the teams that win game 5 are far more likely to win the series instead of having to win two in a row.

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