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Comeback bid lands short as Hawks drop 118-112 decision to Wizards

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NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks made their way to Washington D.C. on Friday night to do battle with the Wizards after a lengthy hiatus this week. Prior to tip-off, Trae Young was scratched with what the Hawks described as flu-like symptoms, leaving Atlanta without their best player and offensive centerpiece.

It was a hot start for Bradley Beal, as he made his first two attempts from three-point range and that must have spurred the Wizards as they made their first four three pointers as a team. The Hawks started slowly, but were able to hang around thanks to some good ball security.

John Collins finished a huge dunk and right afterwards picked up a quick second foul which forced him to the pine. The Hawks responded with a lineup change to Cam Reddish and Bruno Fernando while shifting De’Andre Hunter to the four position.

Reddish came in hot as he hit four straight shots in a row, but the Hawks couldn’t get any traction as they also allowed four straight makes by the Wiz. The end of the quarter was not pretty defensively, but the Hawks were up 34-33 after one due to some red hot offensive numbers (13-24 from the field).

Atlanta turned to a no-point guard lineup for a second time to open the second, but could not sustain it for more than 70 seconds. Collins continued to sit with his two fouls for over 10 minutes of game action.

Once Collins re-entered, he continued to be an offensive engine as he slammed home another dunk to give the Hawks a four point lead with four minutes to go in the half.

Washington was having tremendous trouble with ball security and the Hawks were able to thrive on that during the first half. Through the first 20 minutes of action, 10 turnovers by the Wizards led to 17 points for Atlanta.

John Collins picked up an important third foul late in the second (and it was a silly loose ball foul) which really aided in the breakdown of the Hawks offense.

Atlanta managed just 23 points in the second quarter and, as a result, took a 64-57 deficit into the locker room.

Coming out of the break, the Hawks did not look much better. The lead ballooned to 11 in the first 40 seconds of the third which prompted a quick timeout by Lloyd Pierce. Coming out of that timeout they looked even worse on offense and went scoreless for over two minutes, but luckily did not fall much farther behind.

The Wizards were having their own offensive troubles, but Beal was able to shake his way loose from the Hawks defenders at multiple times to help the lead grow to 79-61 at one point in the third.

Cam Reddish really stepped up for the Hawks and made the end of the quarter much more productive. With that said, Atlanta was only able to muster 18 third-quarter points as a team, and the Hawks really needed to rally to make things competitive going into the final frame.

Rally the Hawks did, and in a big way with Collins back in the game. A three-pointer by Collins cut the lead to just 101-89 with eight minutes remaining. Then, it was Kevin Huerter’s time to step up as he assisted on two straight possessions to keep the offense rolling.

Reddish and Collins were phenomenal down the stretch with Reddish surpassing his career-high point total with just under 1:30 to go in the game. That bucket cut the Wizards lead to just four points at 114-110.

Washington got the lead back to six with two Rui Hachimura free throws in the final minute. The Hawks took a timeout to draw up a play for a Reddish three pointer. Unfortunately, Reddish was unable to knock it down, and that pretty much sealed Atlanta’s fate.

The Wizards actually made it interesting with a shot clock violation and a foul of Collins to tighten the score to 116-112, but Washington was able to make their free throws to take the win.

Reddish was the story of the night with a season (and career) high 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting overall and 5-of-7 from deep. Collins added in 26 more points to go along with 10 boards and Huerter distributed well with a career-best 11 assists to go with 14 points.

The Hawks will be back at it on Saturday in Memphis as they face the Grizzlies for the second time in less than a week.

Stay tuned.