The Washington Wizards defeated the Atlanta Hawks Sunday night 108-99; however, the Hawks played without all five of their starters. John Wall returned to the lineup for the Wizards in their final home game of the season after missing the last two games for rest purposes.
Wall led the Wizards in scoring with 24 points on 9-of-20 shooting, including nine assists and a whopping 10 turnovers. Wall seemed to be very aggressive with his passes and tried to make the difficult passes resulting in the bevy of turnovers. Bradley Beal added 17 points on 6-of-17 shooting. He wasn’t efficient but the Wizards play better when Beal is aggressive looking for his shot.
All five Washington starters scored in double-figures including 15 points and nine rebounds from Marcin Gortat, and 14 points apiece from Paul Pierce and Nene. The big Brazilian also grabbed 10 rebounds giving him his second double-double of the season, and just the third time this year he has recorded double-digit rebounds. Otto Porter came off the bench and scored nine points while grabbing four rebounds.
As mentioned earlier, the Atlanta Hawks played without all five of their starters due to rest and the shoulder injury with Paul Millsap. Mike Scott came off the bench and led the Hawks in scoring with 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting, while knocking down three buckets from behind the arc. John Jenkins added 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while point guards Dennis Schroder and Shelvin Mack added 14 points apiece.
Washington jumped on Atlanta early as they led the Hawks 38-22 after the first quarter. The Wizards would continue the onslaught as they led by 21 at halftime. As in many cases when a team has a giant lead the intensity starts to decline. That happened tonight as the Hawks reserves would continue to battle and would cut the Wizards 25-point lead down to nine in the fourth quarter. Washington’s starters would ramp up again and seal the deal as they defeated the Hawks 108-99.
One of the biggest components in the Wizards victory was their three-point shooting as they finished the evening shooting 9-of-21 from behind the arc, including 7-of-11 in the first quarter. Washington also dominated the glass outrebounding the Hawks 51-to-38, and they were able to get out on the break to the tune of a 29-to-9 advantage. When the Wizards have the advantage in rebounding and fast break points they are tough to beat. The only bugaboo for Washington was their 19 turnovers, other than that they dominated the Hawks.
The Wizards record stands at 46-34, which is their first time reaching that mark since the 1978-79 season. This was also Washington’s final regular season home game and they finished with a record of 29-12, which is a seven-game improvement from a season ago.
Tuesday night the Wizards will go on the road and face the Indiana Pacers at 8:00 PM EST on TNT. Atlanta will head home and face the New York Knicks tomorrow night at 7:30 PM EST.