ATLANTA -- During a regular season full of complaints about the lack of foul calls, John Wall is getting his share of them in the first three games of the Wizards' series with the Atlanta Hawks.
Unfortunately for them, however, hardly anyone else is getting to the line heading into Game 4 tonight at Phillips Arena.
Coach Scott Brooks addressed it after Monday morning shootaround. In fact, he went out of his way after being asked about Bradley Beal's shooting woes to segue into the lack of opportunities compared with the Hawks' Paul Millsap who has gone from 5.9 regular-season average for attempts per game to almost double that.
“We’d like to get to the free-throw line. We haven’t been there enough," Brooks said. "Brad is one of our guys who can get there. We have to do a better job of getting there. Millsap has had (35) free throws. One guy has a lot more than our three guys combined."
Solely based on numbers, Brooks has a point. Millsap is 28 of 35 while John Wall is 26 of 31 on free throws which basically cancels out each other.
Among the rest of the starters, Beal is just 5-for-9 in three games, Otto Porter 3-for-3, Markieff Morris 4-for-5 and Marcin Gortat has zero attempts.
Dennis Schroder alone has attempted more foul shots than the four at 16-for-20. Tim Hardaway is 11-for-14. Dwight Howard and Taurean Prince are a combined 6-for-9.
Morris held court with the Wizards' bigs about how to defend Millsap. When he gets the ball on the left side of the floor, he sweeps through with the ball and jumps backwards to draw whistles to sell the contact.
The emphasis is on keeping the hands up and not hidden so game officials will see there was no contact on the shot. Jason Smith fouled out in just eight minutes off the bench for Washington, getting most of the whistles defending Millsap.
"The facts are the facts. Our three, four and five have only taken eight free throws in the entire series," Brooks said of Porter, Morris and Gortat. "Their one guy has taken (35). That's what it is. I'm not staying that we're not fouling, because we are. I'm not saying that they're not fouling."
The Hawks are playing soft on coverages and giving the Wizards' shooters mostly open looks as they load the paint to prevent easy finishes at the rim from Wall and Beal. Naturally, they're going to be fewer attempts for the team that shoots more jump shots but that the starting frontcourt has attempted just eight -- after a foul-plagued Game 2 that was litered with 55 called infractions -- still is eye-catching.
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