The Atlanta Hawks were back in action Wednesday night when they tried to protect home court against the Washington Wizards at Philips Arena. The Hawks entered the game as heavy underdogs in a season that hasn’t seen Atlanta clicking on all cylinders.
The Hawks inactives Wednesday were Dewayne Dedmon, who has been nursing a stress fracture in his tibia and received some encouraging news Wednesday that he was cleared to resume basketball activities once again. Mike Muscala is all but ready to make his return as well and in pregame was listed as probable but did not play tonight.
In the first quarter, the Hawks came out a bit slow with the Wizards getting out to a better start on offense and Otto Porter Jr. leading the way. The Hawks did fight back when Marco Belinelli entered the game midway through the first with Belinelli making up a lot of ground late in the quarter with a flurry of nice shots. The Hawks managed to get their defense back under control late and played the Wizards to a first quarter tie at 29.
The second quarter opened up with an offensive explosion from the Wizards’ Jodie Meeks but was countered with a run by the Hawks, facilitated mostly by Ersan Ilyasova. The Wizards got their three pointers to start falling later in the second but the Hawks seemed to answer every punch, this time getting a big 3-pointer from Kent Bazemore and a nasty alley-oop to John Collins that brought the Hawks within two heading to halftime, 57-55.
The Hawks came out of halftime somewhat sluggish, as they did in the first quarter, and didn’t get their first points of the third until a Dennis Schroder teardrop with just under nine minutes remaining. Schroder would take off offensively from that point, scoring 11 in the third period alone to put the Hawks in prime position going into the fourth quarter up 78-76.
To open the fourth quarter, the Hawks played very well, getting an insane 3-pointer from Belinelli, who was fantastic in tonight’s game, along with some nice passing to get the rookie Collins wide open for a jam. Bazemore was really good throughout the game but in the fourth quarter he was fantastic, mostly guarding John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Hawks fans were loud and proud in tonight’s game and it was really a wonderful thing to see as the Hawks capped an outstanding second half to win game number nine on the season.
The Hawks got great basketball from everywhere up and down their lineup against the Wizards as Ilyasova, Schroder and Belinelli combined for 60(!) points. Collins had a vintage Paul Millsap kind of night with 8 points, 2 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.
The Hawks be right back to work on Friday in Toronto when they face off against the Raptors.