Six Wizards players score in double-figures, led by Bradley Beal with a season-high 36 as the Wizards took down the Hawks on Wednesday evening, 131-117. Otto Porter scored 20 and Kelly Oubre added 19 points off the bench for a short-handed Wizards squad that was without the services of John Wall (personal reasons) and Jeff Green (sore back) in Atlanta.
After a lackluster start to the game, the Wizards found their footing once they made the decision to lock in defensively. After getting crushed on the glass 11-5 to start this one, Washington ramped up the intensity and took the lead midway through the first quarter. A Thomas Bryant putback dunk followed by a couple of offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive got the Wizards going in this one.
Troy Brown Jr. got some first quarter playing time as a result of the team’s depth issues and took advantage of it early. Beal drove baseline and found the rookie for a floater in the lane for his first basket. A couple of possessions later, Brown returned the favor by gathering an offensive rebound and kicking it to Beal for a three-pointer as the Wizards took an eight point lead after one.
The Wizards opened this one up in the second quarter thanks to their bench. Kelly Oubre Jr. brought instant energy off the bench, scoring 12 points in the second quarter as Washington’s lead ballooned to 23 heading into halftime. It was arguably their best defensive half of the season and it was one of their best on the offensive end as well, as they assisted on 17 of their 24 made baskets.
After a stellar defensive performance in the first half, Washington turned in a clunker in the third quarter. They gave up 45 points in the period, which allowed Atlanta to get right back in the game. Two sloppy plays by Markieff Morris near the end of the quarter allowed the Hawks to get what was a 25-point lead back down to single digits heading into the fourth quarter.
With the Wizards lead trimmed down to five, 105-100 with ten minutes left, Tomas Satoransky came up with a big three-pointer in transition that shifted the momentum back in Washington’s favor. The Wizards were able to take back control after that three and cruise to their third straight win, and ninth win in their last 14 games.
Bradley Beal calmly dominates the game
It’s really hard to score a quiet 36 points but Bradley Beal did it in this game. He was clearly the best player on the floor this evening and he played like it, scoring a season-high 36 points this evening and dishing out a team-high nine assists for Washington.
He was outstanding early on slicing his way to the basket and taking his man off the dribble for some close-in shots, leading the Wizards with 21 points at halftime.
Whenever the Wizards needed a basket in the second half once things were a little close for comfort, Beal stepped up to the plate. Whether it was a floater in the lane or a three-pointer from the wing, he gave the Wizards just what they needed to keep the Hawks at bay. He channeled the best parts of how he played during the ‘Everyone Eats’ phase last season to help Washington overcome John Wall’s absence.
Tomas Satoransky turns in a rock-solid performance
With John Wall sitting this one out due to personal reasons, that opened the door for Tomas Satoransky to run the show at point. He was outstanding tonight with 14 points on 5-7 shooting and knocked down some timely three-pointers in the fourth quarter when Atlanta clawed back within striking distance.
Scoring aside, he pitched a near-perfect game everywhere else. He led the charge defensively for Washington, forcing two steals and dished out seven assists without committing a turnover.
The Kelly Oubre experience takes its show on the road
Kelly Oubre has been frustratingly up-and-down all season and tonight, he continued one of his odd trends – he’s playing much better on the road than at home. After a 21-point night against the Knicks on Monday, he followed it up with 19 points and 5 rebounds in Atlanta.
Unlike Monday where he caught fire from deep, he did most of his damage in the paint against Atlanta, attacking the hole and getting to the line. He pushed the ball in transition for some easy shots and helped facilitate some ball movement in transition to set up Otto Porter for this layup.
The Wizards take care of a sub .500 team
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; the Hawks are a lottery-bound basketball team. But, these were the kinds of games that Washington lost countless times last year. They’ve held serve recently against bottom-feeders like the Nets, Knicks, and Hawks. They’ll get another chance in a winnable game on Saturday as they take on the Cavaliers in Cleveland.