Wizards host Hawks Friday night in return to D.C.
The Wizards (22-39) return home Friday night, hosting the Hawks (19-44) at 7:00 P.M. at Capital One Arena. Washington is looking to bounce back from a pair of back-to-back losses on Tuesday and Wednesday night while the Hawks are coming off a loss to the Grizzlies on Monday.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 P.M. | NBCSW | 1500 AM
Wizards: G – Shabazz Napier, G – Bradley Beal, G – Jerome Robinson, F – Rui Hachimura, C – Thomas Bryant
Hawks: G – Jeff Teague, G – Kevin Huerter, F – De’Andre Hunter, F – John Collins, C – Bruno Fernando
Wizards: Ish Smith (left hamstring tightness – out), John Wall (left Achilles rehab – out)
Hawks: DeAndre’ Bembry (abdominal pain – doubtful), Clint Capela (right Calcaneus contusion; Plantar Fasciitis – out), Dewayne Dedmon (right elbow pain – available), Bruno Fernando (left shin soreness – available), Skal Labissiere (left knee Chondral injury – out), Cam Reddish (low back pain – probable), Trae Young (flu-like symptoms – out)
Wizards looks to end skid on three-game homestand
Washington is coming off a four-game, West Coast road trip that was highlighted by a win over Golden State, but ended with a pair of back-to-back losses to Sacramento and Portland. If this season’s prior results are any indication, a day’s rest and three-game homestand could be just what the Wizards need to stop the slide. Washington has played substantially better at home this season, with the team’s most notable difference on the defensive end. While the team’s offensive rating is just 0.4 points better at home, their defensive rating improves 6.3 points when playing at Capital One Arena. Dating back to January 4, the Wizards are 9-5 in their last 14 home games.
Wizards and Hawks look to break series tie
Friday’s matchup will be the third of the season between the Wizards and Hawks. The teams split the first two games of the series in drastically different ways. The Wizards, playing without Bradley Beal, won the first behind a strong defensive performance, holding Trae Young to just 19 points on 7-20 (.350) shooting and 0-7 (.000) from 3-point range. As a team, the Hawks hit only 24.1% of their threes on their way to just 101 points, one of their lowest scoring outputs of the season. Just two weeks later in the teams’ second meeting of the season, Young and the rest of the Atlanta offense erupted for 152 points, shooting 58.1% from the field. Young led the way, totaling 45 points, 14 assists and six rebounds.
Defense will again likely define the teams’ matchup on Friday. Washington and Atlanta rank in the bottom three of the league in defensive rating, but counter that with explosive potential on the offensive end. Whichever defense shows up and manages to generate a few stops down the stretch could made the difference in who wins and who loses.
Atlanta much improved since All-Star break
Atlanta arrives in Washington coming off a 39-point loss at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies. In the six games prior, the Hawks had been playing their best basketball of the season. The Hawks are 4-3 since coming back from the All-Star break, earning wins over Miami, Dallas, Brooklyn and Portland. While Trae Young, who will not play Friday night, continues to lead the way for Atlanta, notching a 50-point game against Dallas before rattling off five straight double-doubles, the most noticeable difference for the team has been the improvement of Young’s surrounding weapons. Since the break, big man John Collins has averaged 23.3 points and 9.4 rebounds per game while rookie swingman Cam Reddish has stepped up after a struggle in the first half, averaging 15.7 points per game on 46.5% shooting.