Through five games, the Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks have matched up almost evenly, playing in close battles that are usually decided in the final couple minutes of regulation. In Game 5, the Wizards were victorious due to a late-game jump shot by John Wall. Therefore, this series can go either way, as the home teams have won every game, which brings us to Game 6 in Atlanta.

John Wall and Bradley Beal

In a close out game on the road, the Wizards need their star players to perform at an extremely high level. If John Wall and Bradley play well, the rest of the team should follow suit. In Game 5, the two combined for 47 points, which propelled their teammates.

Utilizing Dwight Howard

When Dwight Howard is utilized in the paint, it tends to energize him on the defensive end. The Hawks fed the big man plenty in Game 4 but scarcely used him in Game 5, as he only had three field goal attempts for five points. Perhaps the Hawks need to feed the big man down low a little more, mainly in pick-and-roll situations where they can throw some lob passes to him. When Howard is engaged offensively, he will be determined on the defensive end by protecting the paint.

The Hawks have gone to a lot of isolation plays for Paul Millsap, which isn’t exactly the most effective offensive strategy. Millsap has, at times, forced the issue trying too hard to draw fouls, which is unnecessary because it hurts the team more than it helps.

Atlanta’s ball movement

Going off what was mentioned above, the Hawks must continue to move the ball around more. They usually get quality offense because they’re an unselfish team, but they cannot freeze the offense by running isolation plays. To spread the floor adequately, they could try playing inside-out through Howard.

Washington’s bench

In this crucial Game 6, Washington’s bench is worth mentioning, mainly because it might be thinner than usual. Ian Mahinmi has already missed the entire series with a calf injury, and Jason Smith might also be out with a calf injury tonight. He hurt his leg in Game 5 after logging 16 minutes and is considered a game-time decision for Game 6.

If the Wizards are going to be without Smith and Mahnimi, their frontcourt becomes very thin, which could be troubling since Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat may be asked to play heavy minutes.

Game 6 is scheduled for 7:30 pm Eastern Time on NBATV and ESPNU and will take place at Philips Arena in Atlanta.

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