The Washington Wizards went into Atlanta ready to beat the team sitting atop the Eastern Conference Standings, ready to end their current three game skid and send Atlanta into their own two game slide. Only, the Hawks had no plans of losing two consecutive games, it was Washington that would leave Atlanta with a fourth consecutive loss. Atlanta went up early, their lead shrunk to single digits, then they responded to dismiss the Wizards 105-96.
Despite an off shooting night by the extremely sharp-shooting Kyle Korver, the Hawks were still able to hit the three-ball at a high rate, connecting on 11 of 25 attempts. Jeff Teague led the charge with 26 points and eight assists, Al Horford made his presence known with a strong double-double, 21 points and 13 rebounds.
It wasn’t the turnovers this time for the Wizards as they turned it over less than the Hawks. At one point it was easy to just look at the turnover column in the box score and conclude that ball security is why Washington lost the game. Recently, there’s been another trend or issue that’s come to light.
Washington’s offense….it’s horrendous. It’s gone stale and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get better any time soon. The Wizards have shown the ability to dig in and get stops to start these long rallies that get them back into games. The problem is when they back in the game, they can’t score. It happened against Toronto a few games ago, it happened again tonight in Atlanta. Some of the offensive possessions were so bad that they essentially became turnovers, misses that ignited breaks for Atlanta. Some of which ended bad for Washington, like this one:
The Wizards offense is far too dependent on John Wall, he’s seen recent mintues on the floor surrounded by members of the second unit and it’s tough to watch. Wall who is seemingly always looking for the open man, knows that he is the best scorer on the floor in that scenario and actively hunts for his shot. Washington has one of the worst benches in the league and that very evident tonight as the Atlanta bench often declined to close out on open Washington shooters. The Hawks didn’t feel threatened by those players taking those shots, going back to that whole missed shot is almost equal to a turnover.
Prior to the game, we mentioned that the Washington bigs had to play well tonight. Especially on the defensive end because of Horford and Milsap, The starters did a decent job battling those two, Gortat and Nene weren’t great, but they were both efficient and effective.
The bench was thoroughly outplayed, Washington scored just 14 points out of the six players that came off the pine. Atlanta’s second unit tallied 27 points on the evening, the score could have been worse if Atlanta shot better from the charity stripe.
Washington wasted an excellent effort by their young back court, Wall and Beal combined for 47 points. Wall (23 points) also had 9 assists and 7 rebounds. Beal did a great job of using his dribble tonight, especially when attacking the basket. There were several instances in which he kept his dribble alive thru traffic and finished with an easy layup. Beal had several good looks from beyond the arc, but they just didn’t fall.
Washington has to figure out their issues offensively and find consistency from their second unit. This is the longest losing streak of the season, four games. Washington will be in Charlotte tomorrow to face the Hornets, Charlotte came to D.C. and beat Washington. The Wizards can’t afford to drop five in a row, they must come out and get a victory tomorrow night in Charlotte.
What’s wrong with Washington’s offense and can they get things right tomorrow night in Charlotte?