The Atlanta Hawks saw their winning streak ended on Monday in a barrage of three-pointers by the Washington Wizards. The Hawks had little to no answer for the Wizards' combination of John Wall and Bradley Beal who combined to make eight of Washington's 13 made three pointers.
"A lot of credit to Washington," Mike Budenholzer said after the game. "They played well. They shot the ball well. It wasn't one of our better nights, and I'm sure they had a lot to do with that."
The stingy defense that has become Atlanta's calling card in the second half of the season was non-existent for most of the night. Washington finished the game at 51 percent shooting and knocked down 13 of 25 three-point attempts. Atlanta shot the ball well themselves but their offensive effort was offset by 14 turnovers.
"You're looking at 13-of-25 (three's) for the team and 8-of-11 from those two," Budenholzer said in regards to Beal and Wall. "They shot 52 percent from the three point line. Beal, a couple of them I thought were tough. A couple of them, he got separation from us and was open. Wall is so good getting to the paint. You probably have to pick your poison. He hit a couple of three's. A couple of them were in scramble or offensive rebound situations. The Beal ones we'd like to take away and be more connected, be tougher on him. Both of those guys played really well tonight. "
Washington now owns the longest winning streak in the Eastern Conference at five straight. Monday's win helped them stay 1.5 games behind Detroit and Chicago who are all fighting for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The loss dropped Atlanta to fourth place in a tie with Boston and percentage points behind the Miami Heat who are third.
With a rematch in Washington looming Wednesday, the Hawks will need to learn what they can from Monday's loss and then put it behind them.
"Between now and Wednesday, we can look at some film, see where we can be better and hopefully make it more difficult on them," Budenholzer said. "It's a little bit unique in that we get to see them again on Wednesday, and we get back to work. "
With 11 games remaining in the regular season, every game is critical to the Hawks who are battling for playoff positioning. Spots 3-9 in the East are separated by just four games. Monday's loss while damaging, becomes much worse with a loss on Wednesday.