Later this afternoon, the 25-11 Washington Wizards will head down south to take on the 28-8 Atlanta Hawks. That was not a typo by the way. On the heels of seven-game winning streak, the Atlanta Hawks have taken the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and currently hold a three-game lead on the second-place team.
That second-place team happens to be the Washington Wizards, who are tied with the Toronto Raptors with a record of 25-11 and in second place in the East. With that being said, this game will essentially be played between the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. That is why it is so intriguing.
What’s even more intriguing is how the Hawks are playing as well as they are and have the record that they do. For starters, the Hawks are fifth in the league in points allowed and seventh in the league in points scored. They are also third in team assist, which means they are playing great team basketball.
More from Washington Wizards
- Washington Wizards: Third-Quarter Surge Allows Game 1 Win vs Hawks
- Washington Wizards heading back home with all the confidence on their side
- The Wizards must get more offensive production in Game 2
- John Wall Needs to Take Over the Team in the Playoffs
- NBA Playoffs: Toronto awaits the Washington Wizards
Their star player has been power forward Paul Millsap, whom they acquired last offseason after he spent the first seven years of his career with the Utah Jazz. Although his numbers aren’t quite as good as they were last year, (his first season in Atlanta) the 6-foot-8, 253 pound big man is nearly resembling his numbers from the 2013-2014 season.
He is averaging 17 points per game, while grabbing 6.1 rebounds. He is also averaging 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals, which are both tied for career-highs. He has been the biggest difference for Atlanta this season, but far form the only one. Role players such as Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll have gone a long way for this club as well.
Atlanta has a very complete team and a stacked roster. But they have one player that is the undoubted leader, and his name is Jeff Teague. The 26-year-old point guard is participating in his sixth season here in 2015 and is putting up the best numbers of his career. He is averaging career-highs in points (17.5), assists (7.2), rebounds (2.8), steals (1.7), and is shooting 49 percent from the field, which is also a career-high.
In simpler words, he has having a career-year and has perhaps been the biggest factor in this incredible first half of the season that the Atlanta Hawks have put on display.
The Wizards are the better team. I don’t think you will get an argument saying that John Wall is a better player than Teauge, or saying that the Wizards have more talent on their roster. However, the standings do not reflect that, and the Wizards are going to have to prove that they really deserve the title as the beast of the East later today.