The Washington Wizards hosted the Atlanta Hawks last night, the visitors were at the tail end of a long road trip. The Wizards at the end of a three game home stand have had at least one day off between games. Yet it was the visiting Hawks who pushed the pace at every given opportunity, Atlanta would go up big early and hold on for a 137-129 win over Washington. Nine players scored in double figures for Atlanta, they also knocked down 20 triples on the night.
The former Maryland Terrapin, Kevin Huerter had nine of his 19 points in the first quarter. Atlanta started off hat from beyond the arc, knocking down six of their 12 attempts. Washington shot just 33% in the first quarter while missing every one of their nine three point attempts.
Foul trouble hurt the Wizards in the second quarter as Bradley Beal picked up his third foul. The Hawks pushed their lead to as many as 19 points early in the second quarter. Midway through, the Wizards started to make a run. They started to get stops and guard the three point line better. Tomas Satoransky hit the glass hard and was able to push the pace. Jordan McRae made the most of his eight minutes of playing during this period. The young guard was very assertive and under control en route to 13 points. The last five of his points allowed Washington to cut the deficit to three at one point. Still, the Hawks were able to take a four point lead into the half.
John Collins exited the game at the break after receiving a cut to his face late in the first half. He was on the way to having a monster game as he had recorded a double double of 15 points and 11 rebounds by the break.
The home crowd had started to get back into it with Washington’s rally in the second quarter. The good feelings didn’t last long as Atlanta started the second half with a quick 8-0 run. The Wizards tried to respond, but it didn’t help that Beal picked up his fourth foul at the 7:41 mark.
The Wizards would cut it to nine before Atlanta unleashed a barrage of three pointers that extended their lead. In a third period where both teams traded baskets, the Hawks were led by their vets. Outscoring Washington 38-32 in the period, Vince Carter and Dewayne Dedmon scored 20 of those 38 points. The 42-year old Carter knocked down a three upon entering the game, he shot three of four from distance in the five minutes he played in the quarter. Washington once again had Jeff Green (26 points) and Trevor Ariza (25 points) step up for them, scoring 12 and nine points respectively.
Bradley Beal had a monster fourth quarter, scoring 18 of his 27 points on seven of twelve from the field. He also knocked down three of his four attempts from deep. His last attempt from beyond the arc cut the deficit to just four points with 1:29 left in regulation. That’s a lot of time in a then two possession game, the Wizards played good defense on the ensuing possession. The problem being that Taurean Prince hit a tough three off the glass to bail his team out of a pretty sloppy offensive possession. Prince scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth and his team needed every bit of it.
Brad would score on a dunk in transition after a turnover by Huerter, on the ensuing possession it was Prince again, answering the Washington rally with another triple. This time from the corner with 33.1 seconds left.
For whatever reason, the Wizards don’t start games off with the sense of urgency a team in their position in the standings should. That habit isn’t helping them as they try to dig themselves out of this hole, they’re now 22-31 on the year. Despite all of that, they’re just three games out of the eight spot in the East.
Things don’t get any easier as they travel to Milwaukee on Wednesday to face a Bucks team that throttled them over the weekend.