One series (Golden State Warriors vs Memphis Grizzlies) looks like it’s going to be a long and close one. The other (Atlanta Hawks vs Washington Wizards) might he heading to a very quick ending due to the John Wall injury.
The Atlanta Hawks won game 2 with Wall out due to a sprain. Now it’s a fracture, five of them. What does it mean about his future in this postseason? Not very good, although everyone is still trying to be optimistic, hoping that he still has some part to play in this series. Maybe he does return, but even if he does, it just might be too late.
Ramon Sessions isn’t a bad player, but he doesn’t do anything to scare the Hawks defense. Let him score his 15, 17, 20 points per game. He doesn’t create openings for others. He doesn’t slash a defense with ease and pulls off passes while spinning in midair. He’s a regular point guard, and the Wizards need more than just regular. They now need Bradley Beal, Paul Pierce, Otto Porter and their big men to be exceptional, each and every night, for almost every minute.
Not having to think about defensive answers to Wall makes the Hawks a lot more confident that their brand of basketball, which hasn’t exactly been running smooth in this postseason, can keep on giving them wins and a road to the conference finals. Jeff Teague won’t be exhausted from guarding Wall, and not having someone who can dictate play gives them the opportunity to make it their kind of game, with the ball moving at high speed and making the Wizards’ bigs less and less relevant.
Not a knockout yet (it’s just 1-1), but the Wizards have less and less going for them, unless they’re able to force another slow, half court kind of game without having their most important player on the floor for at least one more game, and probably the entire series.
Warriors vs Grizzlies
After suffering their first loss of the 2015 postseason, at least on the outside the Warriors don’t seem too rattled. Steve Kerr made some cynical remarks, but he is going to need and change something, as the combination of Mike Conley and Tony Allen in the backcourt created plenty of problems for Golden State. It was more than just not making shots, although they could have done a lot better with the open looks they did get.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson didn’t shoot well, but maybe Draymond Green having a bad day was the biggest problem. Green does everything on both ends of the floor, but attempting a smaller lineup with him at the post failed miserably, and while trying to force the Grizzlies into an uncomfortable pace and lineup was a nice attempt, it could be that this small ball attempt isn’t going to work against a team that feels confident in their ability to slow down the best team in the NBA.
This is still the Warriors’ series to lose, and playing away from home hasn’t been a real problem for them this season. However, if Stephen Curry finds it difficult from here on out to make the plays for himself and others that he felt so easy doing against the Pelicans, every game will become something of a gritty war for Golden State, which is exactly the kind of basketball Memphis are trying to force on this series.