The Wizards followed up an absolutely masterful performance against the Lakers on Sunday with an absolute stinker against the Hawks in their 118-110 loss on Tuesday night. Washington fell down big early, falling behind by 13 points a couple of times in the first half before cutting it four going into the second.
The Wizards eventually took a four point lead in the third quarter, but the Hawks tied it at 82 going into the fourth. From there on, it was all Hawks with Jeremy Lin scoring 12 points in the second half. Bradley Beal poured in 29 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough.
The Wizards struggled with foul trouble all game. The Hawks went 4-for-16 from the field in the third quarter but made 14 of their 17 free throws in the period. In total, the Hawks shot 39 free throws. The Wizards had four players with at least five fouls and both John Wall and Tomas Satoransky played most of the second half with four.
Still, even with a tight (and sometimes unreasonable) whistle, you’ve got to find a way to defend against a six-win team. The Wizards couldn’t. And they lost, just like so many pundits predicted they would.
That’s #SoWizards for you.
John Wall laid an egg
And it wasn’t just because of the fouls. He had three early in the first quarter, but he also went 0-for-6 from the field. Maybe he never found a rhythm, but his shot selection was questionable all night. He fell in love with his jumper and only had two shots at the rim. He shot 11 three pointers, which should really never be a thing for him. He also was non-existent on defense again.
This is the frustrating part about Wall. He’ll give you absolutely spectacular games where it looks like he’s one of the ten best players in the league. Then, the very next game, he’ll give you this game against a 7-win team where he should dominate, but he completely wets the bed.
It’s the inconsistency. Even if you get a B-level performance out of Wall here, maybe even C+, you win this game. They didn’t. The Wizards lost.
The fouls were an issue
Fouling has been a problem for the Wizards all year long. They’re not a great defensive team, but they don’t often give themselves a chance to be that because
- They don’t rebound and
- They foul a ton.
They committed 32 fouls tonight against the Hawks. You’ll never win a game fouling that much, even with a tight whistle. And that includes a game against, maybe, the worst team in the NBA.
Trevor Ariza is good still
This tweet says it all about Trevor Ariza.
Fun with stats.— Ben Standig (@BenStandig) December 19, 2018
Trevor Ariza has five steals in his Wizards debut with time remaining.
Kelly Oubre had four in last four games.
Austin Rivers had three in his last nine games.
This is what they traded for. Kelly Oubre Jr. was a great energy player. He was exciting, athletic and, occasionally, was a solid defender. But he didn’t have the same presence as Ariza does.
Ariza has the IQ. He’s in the right places at the right times. He knows positioning and he knows player tendencies better than most. And he can also shoot — he poured in four made 3-pointers tonight. Obviously, the result isn’t where you want it to be. But that’s not because of Ariza’s effort.