The Wizards lose their first game of the season 114-98 to the Atlanta Hawks behind 28 points and 11 rebounds from Paul Millsap.
Here is a breakdown of what went right and what went wrong for Washington tonight:
What Went Right
.Markieff Morris was solid all night for Washington. He finished the game with 22 points and four rebounds. Keef had the difficult task of guarding Millsap the whole night. Despite Paul having a big game, Morris had stretches where he locked him down on the defensive end. The Wizards forward did struggle with fouls in the first half, but he was a positive for Washington when he was on the floor.
Bradley Beal was aggressive on both sides of the ball which was a bright spot for Washington. He was limited the second half of the game with four fouls, but he was getting steals, fast break dunks, and good shots when he was on the floor. Bradley finished was 13 points and four assists.
Andrew Nicholson and Kelly Oubre were positives off the bench. Even though they did not score huge numbers, their energy and “never back down” mentality was front and center. Nicholson made an impact in every part of the game when he was in and Oubre was aggressive on both sides of the floor. Look for both to get increased minutes if they continue to play like they did against Atlanta.
What Went Wrong
Washington was sloppy with the basketball, committing 19 turnovers that led to 24 points for the Hawks. Every time it seemed that Washington would go on a run and gain the momentum, they would give the ball back to Atlanta, sparking a Hawks run. The Wizards had little to no flow for the entire game, which is expected if you’re turning the ball over at such an alarming rate.
Yes, this was just the first game of the season, but their were so many missed lay-ups for Washington. Fast break lay-up, miss. Turnaround hook lay-up, miss. Up-and-under lay-up, miss. Along with Turnovers, missed lay-ups were a recurring theme of the night.
Atlanta out-rebounded Washington 52-40. Dwight Howard had 19 of them by himself. Washington as a team are not that big, because of this, everyone needs to crash the boards and fight for the rebounds. That will be an area that the Wizards must focus on for the remaining 81 games in this season.
It wasn’t far fetched to imagine that John Wall would have some rust coming into the season opener, it definitely showed last night. Wall finished with a double double (12 points and 10 assist) but was anything but good offensively. He went an abysmal 3-of-15 from the field and missed both his three point attempts. Wall will need to get back into the swing of things if Washington wants to make it to the playoffs this year, but before you go crazy with the sky is falling like reactions, it’s one game. John is one of the best point guards in the league, he had one really bad outing, he’ll be fine and as he gets closer back to his regular level of play the turnovers for the team should go down considerably.
Does Washington have a bench? Because they were a no-show in Atlanta. Other than Nicholson and Oubre, nobody else came to play. Marcus Thornton air balled three times on wide open looks, Trey Burke was aggressive, but ineffective offensively. If Washington’s bench plays like that all season, there is no way the Wizards will be a threat in the East. Again, just one game, but can’t imagine that both Thorton and Burke’s leash will continue to be long with several youngsters on the bench capable of helping. The first coming to mind, Tomas Satoransky.
The Wizards will look to bounce back against the Memphis Grizzles on Sunday, Oct. 30.