In a unique circumstance and turn of events, the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks face Washington foes this week, and both series are significant.
It is a rare thing that the NBA playoffs and early MLB baseball schedules offer the same intrigue featuring the same teams, but for the city of Atlanta, that happens this week. The Atlanta Hawks face a tough game two in Washington in the first round of the playoffs. The Atlanta Braves face a tough Nationals team who has owned them recently. Both games matter. Both series matter.
The Atlanta Hawks, as mentioned here, have their hands full with the Wizards. In game one, John Wall went off for 32 points, and dominated the third quarter. The Hawks didn’t help themselves with 19 turnovers and seven missed free throws.
If the Atlanta Hawks are to win this series and advance to round two of the playoffs, they have to win at least one game on the road. But in that scenario they sweep Washington at home. Otherwise, they’d have to win multiple games on the road. Not easy. Anyone who knows anything about NBA playoff basketball knows that it is easier to steal one on the road early in the series. Tomorrow night is almost a must.
The Atlanta Braves, invigorated by SunTrust Park, and breathing home town air, are riding a five game winning streak heading into the Nationals series. This three games set at home is a big one for the Braves. Not necessarily in terms of season implications. Rather, in terms of confidence and perception.
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The simple fact is the Nationals have owned the Braves in recent years. I could give the stat, but refuse to do so. It’s too disgusting. Suffice it to say…were Atlanta to come away with a series win, not only would it improve early divisional standing, it would serve notice. It would show that this team isn’t 2016. It would say that this team isn’t born of recent regression. It would show that our beloved Braves are growing and showing.
To be sure, the implications for the Hawks and the Braves are different. Our Atlanta Hawks are in win or go home mode. The Atlanta Braves have a long season, but are looking to make a statement. Different vibes, but the same story.
Both are looking to reverse the recent history of losing to these teams. And they have the ability to do so. The Atlanta Hawks, when playing well, can beat the Wizards at their place. The Atlanta Braves just might be ready to rectify records at home.
We’ll find out this week. It’s Atlanta versus Washington. All week long. And it matters.