The Wizards started 2019 off on the right foot with a 114-98 win over a frisky Atlanta Hawks squad on Wednesday night.
Five Wizards players scored in double-figures led by Bradley Beal with 24 points and Jeff Green with 22. Thomas Bryant continued his outstanding play with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and Tomas Satoransky was also terrific posting a near triple-double with 14 points, 11 rebounds, and seven assists.
Washington controlled the first-half but the scoreboard showed otherwise. The Wizards opened the game shooting 57 percent in the first quarter but had trouble slowing down Atlanta as they only led by six, 35-29 after one quarter.
Alex Len, the University of Maryland product, had an out of body performance this evening (24 points) playing just a few miles away from his alma mater. He came off the bench and had his way against the Wizards’ undersized bench and even hit a three to give Atlanta a spark.
Len and John Collins combined for 28 first half points to keep it from being an early rout. Washington took a comfortable but not too cozy, 11 point lead into halftime.
Like we’ve seen in too many games this season, the Wizards had the Hawks at bay, but their offense went ice-cold for an extended stretch in the third quarter. With Washington leading 83-73, Atlanta cut into the lead with an 8-0 run and trimmed the deficit to four heading into the fourth quarter.
With the game tied at 94 and another #sowizards loss looming, Washington flipped the switch. The Wizards clamped down and forced Atlanta into one too many turnovers which created easy transition opportunities. Washington used the 17-2 run to pull away for a comfortable 114-98 victory.
Washington makes all of the crucial plays in the fourth quarter
Alex Len put back a missed floater by Trae Young to tie the game at 94 with 6:44 left in the game and it looked like the Wizards were in store for another #SoWizards ending.
But that’s when things took a drastic change in Washington’s favor. Bradley Beal, who was held to just 13 points prior to the fourth quarter, snaked his way into the lane for a tough layup. Next time down the floor, Satoransky found a trailing Beal for three quickly putting the Wizards up 99-94. Next time down, Bradley Beal drove baseline, kicked the ball to Satoransky who found Green in the corner for three to go on an 8-0 run in just 91 seconds.
That sparked an extended 17-2 run in which Washington would take control of the game and never look back.
Thomas Bryant continues to roll
Bryant continues to improve every single night.
No, it wasn’t a historic performance like Bryant had a few weeks ago against the Suns where he went 14-of-14 from the field — but it was close. The second-year big man continued to impress this time to the tune of 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds including going a perfect 5-of-5 in the first half and almost logging a double-double by halftime with 16 points and 9 rebounds.
At first, Bryant was the beneficiary of the Wizards guards being able to penetrate the paint as that created easy opportunities for him close in. But then, all of his intangibles, which have earned him this extra playing time, were on display. First it was doing the dirty work by setting hard screens, rolling hard to the basket, and crashing the offensive glass followed by him sprinting the floor for easy transition opportunities.
New year, same Thomas Bryant #WizHawks | #DCFamily pic.twitter.com/1fNi8MLlSt— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 3, 2019
Bryant’s production slowed down significantly in the second half but that still didn’t stop him from notching his third double-double of the season.
Up Next: No time for an extended celebration as the Wizards have a brutal six-game stretch leading up to their trip to London later this month. It stars on in Miami on Friday night at 8 pm Eastern Time when they face the Heat, who have won seven of their last nine games.