Tied at 94 with 6:44 left in the fourth quarter, the Washington Wizards used a 15-4 run to close the game. The Atlanta Hawks had fought back from double digit deficits several times throughout the evening, the largest being at 16. The run to close the game started with five quick points from Beal, but defense is what really fueled it. Bryant came up with a big block a few possessions later, the ensuing Washington possession ended with a Jeff Green triple. Tomas Satoransky hit a floater to push the lead to 13 and he officially ended it with defensive plays that led to a Beal dunk and a clear path violation. The Wizards beat Atlanta 114-98, winning their first game of the new year.
Bradley led Washington with 24 points, Green was right behind him with 22 points. Satoransky was just a few assists shy of a triple double, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists. Len came off the bench to lead Atlanta with 24 points and 11 rebounds. John Collins also had a good night with 21 points and eight rebounds. The Wizards did a good job of bothering Kevin Huerter and Trae Young, the scored a combined 17 points on 7-of-22 from the floor.
The Wizards got off to a solid start on the offensive end, Ariza scoring seven early points. Atlanta didn’t get much production from their young shooters early, but Collins and Len made up for it. The duo scored 10 a piece, neither of which faced any real resistance from the Wizards defense. Still, a surge from Washington to close the quarter allowed them to take a six point lead.
The second unit got Washington off to a 7-2 start to the second period. Similar to the opening quarter, Atlanta did respond. They got more balance in the sense that more player scored, but it all was predicated off the chaos caused by their screen/roll game. Again, the Wizards were able to keep Young and Huerter from doing damage. Collins however, was a different issue. Bryant followed up his 10 point first quarter with six in the second. The Wizards took an 11 point lead into the half despite Beal shooting just 2-of-9 from the floor. Atlanta’s Daniel Hamilton and DeAndre’ Bembry did a great job of bothering him with their length.
Washington didn’t help their cause in the least bit with a very sloppy third quarter. After turning the ball over just three times in the first half, they had six in the period alone. That allowed the Hawks to get out in transition a bit, Len also continued to score at a high rate in the paint. Atlanta outscored Washington 31-24, cutting their deficit to just four heading into the fourth.
Washington embarks on a three game road trip later this week.
Satoransky. Tomas had another good game, he was decisive in nearly everything he did against Atlanta. In 36 minutes, he had just one turnover, he read the game well and did exactly what was needed when it was needed. It was another solid performance, he also deserves credit for they type of defense he played on Trae Young. He was very physical and didn’t get too close to him so that he could get beat, a lesson seemingly learned from the Charlotte game with small guards.
Green. Jeff was huge all night, he found his way to the corner eight times and knocked down four of those shots. Several of which came at key points for Washington. He used his versatility to exploit matchups all night long on the offensive end and did a great job of making plays for others.
Bryant. Thomas continues to get better in the area that is needed most by his team. He had 15 rebounds tonight to go with his 16 points. 14 of those 15 rebounds came on the defensive end is a huge part as to why Washington was able to get out and run at times. Those stops didn’t go in vain due to him securing the rebound.
Otto’s Return. He only played 13 minutes, but he had a stretch in the second half in which he knocked down a couple of midrange jumpers. He’s rusty as Brooks stated after the game, but it was good to see him back after John was ruled out for the year and Morris is still out. Even if continues to come off the bench for a few more games, it gives Washington a bit more firepower. Ammo that is much needed.