The Washington Wizards fell 114-107 to the Atlanta Hawks Friday night in a matchup that could have considerable bearing on both teams’ playoff chances. The Hawks entered the game with the eighth seed and a a 33-33 record; the Wizards sat two games back at 31-35 in the tenth seed. Considering the thin margins keeping them in the play-in this late in the season, both teams played shockingly lackadaisically. With a deeper and more talented roster, the Hawks won the coast-a-thon thanks to Trae Young’s 28 points on 6-for-10 three-point shooting.
The thorn in the Wizards’ side tonight was their half-court offense. Each time down the court, Washington’s offense ground to a halt and devolved into uninspired isolation basketball. The Wizards routinely failed to create easy shots, and it seemed like every offensive possession ended in a contested layup or a midrange jumper.
On the bright side, the Wizards played a solid game defensively, punctuated by Bradley Beal’s highlight block on Trae Young. The problem is, Beal’s block happened down four points with 27 seconds left in the fourth quarter — immediately after the Wizards burned almost an entire crunch-time shot clock without getting a good shot off.
The loss to Atlanta dropped the Wizards to 31-36, and they now run a serious risk of falling completely out of the play-in tournament. With the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers looming in the standings, Washington is going to have to put together an exceptional stretch of basketball to close out the season if they even want to sniff the postseason. There are a few “gimmes” in their remaining 15-game schedule, but they still have to face eight more solid playoff teams before the year closes out.