The Hawks are seemingly downplaying the significance of John Wall’s fractured hand and wrist, maintaining their strategy for Game 3 of their playoff series against Washington doesn’t hinge on whether Wizards’ point guard plays.
But they’re not downplaying the potential of Wall’s absence in Las Vegas.
The Hawks have shifted from a 2-point underdog for Saturday’s game in Washington to a 2½-to-3-point favorite (depending on the sportsbook) since it was revealed that Wall had suffered five non-displaced fractures in his left hand and wrist. The Hawks also have moved from a slight favorite (minus-165) to win the series to not quite double their previous odds (minus-270). Odds translation: wager $27 on the Hawks to win $10. Or: Washington went from 1.65-to-1 underdog to 2.7-to-1 underdog.
The Wizards say they are consulting with doctors and specialists and don’t know at this time whether Wall will play. But if he does play, his left hand and wrist area likely would be protected with a soft cast or pad, making ball-handling and shooting problematic.
Hawks point guard Jeff Teague said Thursday that Wall and Ramon Sessions, who started Game 2, “play pretty similar. They’re both pretty aggressive, pushing it and trying to get out in transition.” But while Sessions had a strong game, finishing with 21 points and four assists, he’s not nearly the playmaker that Wall is.
Wizards coach Randy Wittman told the Washington Post, “There’s no timetable for something like this is the best way I can put it. We got to be prepared as a team to play without him. Our guys are doing that. Knowing John, if there’s a slight chance to get in, he’s holding out for that. That’s the type of kid he is.”
Regardless, the money is going the other way.
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