In the Washington Wizards’ first game at Capital One Arena since January 11, Rui Hachimura, Davis Bertans and Moe Wagner all returned from the covid list. Even with reinforcements, the Wizards fell to the Atlanta Hawks 116–100. After putting up 47 points against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, Bradley Beal had as many fouls as he did points (two) halfway through the first quarter; Beal didn’t score his first basket until the 7:52 mark of the first.
With Beal being held to just four points in the first, it was Russell Westbrook who led the scoring with seven after 12. Despite their leading scorer kept quiet early in the game, the Wizards entered the break down 31–22. Neither team shot the ball well in the first — Washington was 8–25 from the field, Atlanta was 9–24.
In his home debut, Maryland product Alex Len had nine points off the bench, including two put-back dunks early in the second. After the Wizards made the game competitive with an 8–2 run, the Hawks countered, attacking 9–3 and forcing a Scott Brooks timeout. As halftime drew near, the Wizards cut the lead to six, 49–43, after Westbrook blew by several defenders for a contested two, going coast-to-coast. But the second quarter was punctuated by verbal sparring between Westbrook and Atlanta guard Rajon Rondo, who finished the night with eight points, four assists and who would later be ejected.
Down 11, the Wizards worked to cut the lead, but after a no-call on a hard hit on Beal, the game began to spiral out of control. Robin Lopez was given a double-technical foul and was ejected from the game.
After making his first free throw of the night, the Hawks held the NBA’s leading scorer to just three points in the frame — Beal had been averaging 13.4 points in the third this season. After 36 minutes, Westbrook had with a season- and team-high 26 points, but the home team trailed 89–71.
With Rondo proving a pest all night, Westbrook let the irritating guard get under his skin and was ejected at the 10:18 mark of the fourth. With Westbrook out and Beal sitting at a season-low 13 points, it looked bleak for Washington. An 11–0 run in the latter stages favored the Wizards, and they even managed to get within 10 of the visitors. Back-to-back threes by Trae Young, however, effectively ended the Wizards’ comeback hopes and iced the game, dropping the Wizards to 3–12. Young scored a game-high 41 points.
Next up for Washington is a home meeting with the Brooklyn Nets, whom the Wizards defeated 123–122 at the beginning of the month, although the Nets did not yet have James Harden.