The Atlanta Hawks delivered another statement to the rest of the NBA Sunday evening with a 120-89 blowout win over the Washington Wizards to extend their winning streak to eight. The Hawks have passed every test so far this season and have just been remarkable at both ends of the floor.
Atlanta led wire-to-wire on Sunday and came out of the gates firing. Most people focus on the Hawks' offense but it was their defense that helped stake them to an early lead with six first quarter steals. Atlanta led 34-22 at the end of one. The Hawks continued to pour it on in the second quarter. Kyle Korver scored on a finger roll to put Atlanta up 44-24 with 8:43 remaining in the half.
Washington came in playing well and riding a three-game winning streak so it wasn't surprising to see them make a run. The Wizards flexed their own defensive muscles late in the half to close to within 55-50 at the intermission.
The second half began much like the first half ended. With the Wizards keeping the pressure on but Atlanta making just enough plays to stay in front. John Wall cut the deficit to 69-67 at the 5:23 mark of the third quarter. The Hawks responded with a 12-2 run capped off by back-to-back three-pointers from Pero Antic and DeMarre Carroll. The Wizards ended the quarter with a 5-0 run to close to within 87-77 at the end of the third.
Washington cut Atlanta's lead back to seven in the early moments of the fourth quarter before Atlanta went nuts offensively again. The Hawks embarked on a 17-1 run and increase the lead to 106-83. The Wizards wouldn't threaten again and Mike Budenholzer was able to empty the bench down the stretch.
Korver led eight different Hawks players in double figures with 19 points. He knocked down 5-7 three-point attempts and was an efficient 6-8 from the field overall. Carroll finished with 16 while Horford chipped in 15. Jeff Teague shot just 4-12 from the field but finished with 11 points and 10 assists. Atlanta got a solid lift from its bench as Antic, Dennis Schröder and Mike Scott combined for 33 points.
Atlanta knocked down 16-31 three-point attempts and turned 20 Washington turnovers into 31 points.
John Wall led Washington with 15 points and eight assists but was also credited with eight turnovers. Nene finished with 14 while Kevin Seraphin added 13 off the bench.
After an off day on Monday, the Hawks are back at it on Tuesday when they begin a four game road trip in Philadelphia against the Sixers.