John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards were supposed to provide a stiff challenge to the Atlanta Hawks on Friday evening. The visitors held up their end of the bargain but the home team, unfortunately did not. The Hawks trailed wire to wire and were unceremoniously trounced in a 112-86 loss.
The game began in ominous fashion, with the Wizards zooming to a 10-1 advantage as the Hawks missed their first six shots. With haste, Washington extended their lead to 24-10 in the early going and, at that point, Atlanta’s defense (1.65 points allowed per possession) was staggeringly poor.
The Hawks did rebound after a timeout midway through the first quarter, scoring eight straight points to right the ship to some degree. Still, Washington scored 37 points to take a double-digit lead after 12 minutes of play and it was an ugly defensive showing in every way.
While the second quarter was (slightly) kinder defensively, the offense was woeful. That combination allowed the visiting Wizards to build as much as a 25-point lead before halftime before settling into a 67-45 margin at the break. Washington shot a blistering 53 percent from the floor and 58 percent from three, while the Hawks misfired to the tune of 35 percent from the floor and a hideous 83.8 offensive rating.
The second half... wasn’t much better. Atlanta dug a 30-point hole at 81-51 midway through the third quarter and that was basically the end of that. The Hawks did flash very mild patches of potential recovery, but that gave way to extended minutes for the likes of Mike Scott, Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry in the fourth quarter.
On the whole, this was a highly disappointing performance. Dwight Howard’s 12-point, 13-rebound double-double was likely the individual bright spot, and Atlanta’s team-based numbers were dismal on both sides of the ball. This is, of course, just the latest example of a team that seems to put forth an uncharacteristically high number of no-shows this season, but the Hawks will have the opportunity to erase this performance with a better showing on Sunday afternoon against the Knicks.