The Atlanta Hawks continued their winning ways Saturday night as they defeated the Washington Wizards 114-99 for their seventh-straight victory. Hawks guard Kent Bazemore led the way as he recorded a career-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field.
Washington’s biggest downfall tonight, once again, was the turnovers. The Wizards finished the night with 26 turnovers which led to 33 Atlanta points. That is 50 combined turnovers in their last two games, both of which they would lose by double figures.
Despite finishing the night with 114 points, the Hawks came out of the gates ice cold. They started the game shooting 2-of-15 from the field, but were only down 6-4 at the 5:58 mark because the Wizards continually turned the ball over. The teams would be tied at 19 after the first quarter, and the Wizards would hold a 45-41 lead at halftime.
The lone bright spot in this game for Washington was the play of Otto Porter. He finished the night with a career-high 23 points (8-of-12 shooting from the field), 13 of which came in the first half. John Wall compiled another double-double with 19 points and 12 assists, but it was shadowed by the fact he turned the ball over seven times. Marcin Gortat and Nene would finish the game with 10 points and 10 rebounds apiece.
Bradley Beal has been a scoring machine in the first five games of the season, averaging 25 points a night. But tonight Atlanta did a nice job containing him as he finished with a season-low 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting, while committing a team-high eight turnovers. To make matters worse, Beal would leave the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent left shoulder injury.
Atlanta continued to play their game as they had five players in double figures and shared the ball to the tune of 37 assists on 43 made field goals. All-Star forward Paul Millsap recorded 21 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and two blocks. Al Horford added 14 points and nine rebounds, while Jeff Teague and Thabo Sefolosha had 10 points apiece.
With 6:24 left in the fourth quarter, the Wizards led the Hawks 92-90. However, Atlanta would finish the fourth quarter on a 24-7 run, capping off a 39-point quarter and 73-point second half.
Washington’s focus and energy seemed to be drained right after Mike Muscala drained a three-pointer at the top of the key to gain a 93-92 lead. From there on the Wizards would commit five turnovers and relinquish any chance of actually winning this ballgame.
After losing their opening night game to the Detroit Pistons at home, the Atlanta Hawks have won seven-straight games and are already looking like the team that was a number one seed in the Eastern Conference from a year ago.
Washington falls to .500 at 3-3 as they’ve lost two-straight by a combined 35 points, only days after coming away with an impressive win over the San Antonio Spurs. For the Wizards to be a consistent winner this season, the turnovers have to be addressed.
Atlanta will stay home and host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night. Washington will have a couple days off before they go home to the Verizon Center and face the Oklahoma City Thunder.