This 31 point drubbing takes you back to their awful loss against the Dallas Mavericks just over a week ago, but this loss was much worse than that. This game gave the Wizards an opportunity to gain ground in the Eastern Conference and establish themselves as a power in the league.
The next two games on their schedule are against the San Antonio Spurs and a salty Chicago Bulls team. Those are both winnable games, but they aren't going to be easy by any means. Getting a grip on this game today would have gone a long way in this stretch, but now the Wizards are reeling.
One game does not necessarily change the course of a season, but you would like to win games like this one--especially against a divisional opponent. But the Hawks showed us just how good they are today and they showed the Wizards how much farther they have to go.
Here are the three things we've learned today.
In case you didn't know...
Kyle Korver is the best three point marksman in the league right now. It is imperative that you guard him and that you actually do it well. You need to make sure you are right on his hip pocket when he's running off of screens, make sure your bigs time their hedges on him perfectly and always pick him up in transition.
The Wizards did not do any of that today in this game. They allowed Korver to take control of the game offensively with his passing and shooting. It's rare that you see a player who's strength is not putting the ball on the floor take control of a game like that, but Korver is an elite player and can do that.
He shot 6-8 from the field and five of those six makes were three point shots. He finished with four assists, hitting diving bigs and backdoor cutters. Korver is just a total package, and the Wizards apparently left him out of their gameplan.
Extra possessions are not allowed in NBA basketball
You cannot expect to beat a team of this caliber when you are just handing them extra possessions from turnovers and offensive rebounds. The Wizards had 19 turnovers and the Hawks only had 8. That is the same number of turnovers John Wall had throughout the entire game. The Hawks scored 31 points off of those 19 Wizards turnovers and had 34 assists to boot.
The Wizards also allowed the Hawks to corral 13 offensive rebounds. They had no answer for the spacing issues the Hawks presented them with and they were scrambling trying to cover the bevy of shooters the Hawks threw at them. The Hawks created so many 2-on-1 situations under the rim when shots were going up because the Wizards had no idea where to be defensively.
The gameplan just was not effective on both ends and there is really no excuse on it. The Wizards did not come out "weak" or "flat". They were actually just punched in the face by a better team and weren't prepared for the Hawks' schemes on either end. Tip your cap.
Basketball is a game of runs, but the Wizards had no chance tonight
There were many runs on both sides and the Wizards even managed to cut the lead down to two at one point in the game tonight. The Hawks started off with a 22-8 run with six made threes in the first quarter. The Wizards countered to get back into the game with a 22-8 run going into the second half.
The Hawks opened up another run of 16-2 to start the half and the Wizards countered with an 8-2 run to close the third quarter and go into the fourth down by just 10. But the Hawks opened the game up and had another run that was 24-2 at one point, and the Wizards just pulled the plug on the night.
The game was close at certain points by score, but there is really no solace to take in that tonight. Washington never took a lead and had multiple opportunities to, but Atlanta was just better. They had a better gameplan and were far more prepared for the Wizards than the Wizards were for them.