Kevin C. Cox
The Atlanta Hawks took care of the Washington Wizards behind 23 points and 15 boards from Josh Smith, 14 points and 14 rebounds from Al Horford, and 19 points and six assists from Jeff Teague.
The Hawks jumped out to an early 31-19 first quarter lead behind good starts from Jeff Teague and Josh Smith, who each had eight in the quarter. The Hawks made a point of attacking the glass after being out-rebounded 58-37 in their first matchup. They led 16-9 on the glass after the first quarter, and were able to keep the Wizards’ bigs under control on the glass and scoring in the paint. Atlanta also had very good shot selection in the first, shooting 56.5% from the field by penetrating and either finishing at the rim or kicking out for open jumpers.
The second quarter was much closer, but the Hawks continued to hold the Wizards off despite a run to cut the lead to six. Zaza Pachulia was a big factor as was Teague’s aggressive play. Zaza finished the half with seven boards to lead the Hawks, and Jeff Teague had 14 points to lead the Hawks in scoring. Josh Smith had nine points and six rebounds in the half, and while Al was quiet offensively, he had six rebounds to go with two points. Atlanta finished the half up 54-41 on 50% shooting and a 24-19 (7-3 offensive) rebounding advantage.
The third quarter saw the Wizards cut the lead to 80-71 by shooting 50% from the field and their ball movement picked up as they assisted on 11 of 12 made shots. Bradley Beal came alive with 14 points in the quarter. The Hawks were able to keep them at bay behind the hot shooting of DeShawn Stevenson, who hit a pair of threes to push his three-pointer total to five on the night. Atlanta’s offense was not the problem in the quarter, but their defensive rotations were slow leaving too many open jump shots for the Wizards.
The Wizards charged back in the fourth quarter cutting the Hawks lead down to two points with four minutes to play. A Josh Smith three with 2:31 to play put the Hawks up 95-89. The Wizards continued to attack and got themselves to the free throw line (where they were extremely good) to keep in the game. Smith continued to assert himself down the stretch hitting jumpers, hooks, and even free throws. Atlanta pushed ahead 102-91 with 1:21 to play on a Smoove and-one off a running hook. Teague capped the game off with a steal and breakaway dunk on the next possession to put the Hawks up 104-91, on their way to a 104-95 victory.
Atlanta starters scored 86 of the Hawks 104 points, with all in double-figures. Josh finished with 23 points and 15 boards, while Al picked his play up in the second half to finish with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Jeff Teague was not as active scoring in the second half, but still finished with 19 points, six dimes, and four boards. Devin Harris and DeShawn Stevenson both had season-highs in points as they each poured in 15 points, with seven combined threes. The Hawks out-rebounded the Wizards 47-32 (15-7 on the offensive end) and shot 48.2% from the field with 23 assists.
For more, visit Bullets Forever.