December 18, 2018
Apr 19, 2017; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) shoots the ball as Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap (4) defends in the first quarter in game two of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 109-101 and lead the series 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

By Dave DuFour

“I guess if that’s MMA, then what we do next might be double MMA.”
– Markieff Morris

On the heels of a physical Washington victory in game one, the NBA viewing public was ready for the tough talk from both camps in game two. What none of us anticipated was a record-tying performance….from the referees .

Game two had a total of 55 personal fouls called for the game, tying a 64-year-old record (Syracuse at Boston March 21, 1953 in a game that featured four overtimes, and  I can only envision in black and white). To say the flow of this game suffered would be an understatement. Both teams struggled to find a rhythm early on, but Atlanta was noticeably lost in the first half going 0-for-8 on threes (the eight being a much bigger problem than the zero) and committing nine turnovers. Washington carried an eight-point lead into the break.

The Hawks third quarter was the best they’ve played thus far in this series, putting up 35 points, despite going 2-for-7 from deep, while managing to hold the Wizards to 23 points, giving them a four-point lead heading into the fourth.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, the Wizards have John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Wall and Beal combined for 24 of the Wizards’ 35 fourth quarter points for a total of 63 in the game for the “Hustle and Flow” backcourt (shoutout Jalen Rose). The Hawks, specifically Dennis Schröder and Kent Bazemore, were completely overmatched trying to stop Wall and Beal.

Wall, the best point guard in the East, was getting anything he wanted.

And Beal was dropping bombs like this dagger to close the door.

Down 0-2, it’s time for Coach Bud to go back to the drawing board. In this instance, the drawing board is filled with names of possible draftees or trade targets because the Hawks are toast in this series.

Atlanta is the most unwatchable team in this year’s playoffs, which includes the Bulls (who have played surprisingly well) and the Pacers (who haven’t but just aren’t as uninspiring as Atlanta). The sooner this thing wraps up, the better for everyone, the Hawks included.

It’s fitting that the Wizards played “Ether” over the PA late in the fourth quarter of this game. While Washington is out there going “Double MMA”, the Atlanta Hawks definitely look like a bunch of “Tae Bo Hoes”.

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Dave DuFour

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