By now everybody knows the game plan for beating the Washington Wizards in the playoffs. We can neither stop nor contain the mighty Ramon Sessions, it goes. Ha ha ha, I mean, to even suggest such a thing could be done is a funny joke, even for the top-seeded team playing at home. Who can but dream of slowing his relentless onslaught without waking up and apologizing?

But! Maybe if we get an early lead and play from ahead, and Marcin Gortat fouls out and poor broken-down ol’ Nene spends 27 minutes impersonating a mailbox, then the demigod Sessions will become tired (you know, from nearly singlehandedly wearing out our brave but overmatched point guard, as Ramon Sessions will do). Then we can pull away in the final six minutes and win. Yes, that is the game plan for beating the Wizards in the playoffs; everybody knows it, but few have the iron will and laser focus to pull it off. Last night, the hosting Atlanta Hawks, desperate for a win in the most important game they’ve played this millennium, nearly could not! Which would have been understandable.

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But, against all odds and to everyone’s great surprise, they survived Sessions’s one-man cover of Sherman’s March to the Sea, saving their season and revealing a heretofore unseen strength of spirit. Sessions trashed poor li’l Jeff Teague at both ends, sure, but the gutsy Hawks proved that a single unguardable superstar like Ramon Sessions is no match for a unified team, man. A team can do just about anything—and a team that can withstand Ramon Sessions can topple Olympus.

The Wizards and Hawks now will travel to D.C. with their series tied at a game apiece. But, one can’t help but feel as though the Hawks have an edge. Their goal (more of a wild ambition, really) was just to steal one of their first two home games—and now, they’ve shown the world that Ramon Sessions can be beaten. They know that it might not even matter if he turns Jeff Teague into Eric Maynor for 33 minutes, so long as DeMarre Carroll has the game of his life and Nene is a literal dead body and the Wizards give actual non-garbage-time minutes to someone named Garrett Temple—y’know, the kind of repeatable stuff that has been the foundation of Atlanta’s success all season. And, most importantly of all, they know there’s a chance they could catch a break from the unstoppable force of nature that is Ramon Sessions—if, by Saturday’s Game 3, five days of rest and treatment for his sprained wrist allow for the return of a healthy John Wall.

The Hawks will win the NBA Finals.

Photo via Getty

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