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Wizards take down Hawks, 131-117
Fueled by a 39-point second quarter, the Wizards won their third straight game with a 131-117 win over the Hawks on Wednesday night. Despite a Hawks comeback in the second half, the Wizards would lead by as many as 25 points and have little trouble outside of those few minutes.
John Wall missed the game due to personal reasons, but his backcourt mate Bradley Beal stepped up with 36 points, six rebounds, and nine assists to lead the Wizards to victory in Atlanta. Beal could not be stopped off the dribble, even though the Hawks knew he would be featured heavily. His season-high of 36 propelled the Wizards, but it was a team effort to get the job done without Wall.
Otto Porter Jr. added a double-double with 20 points, 11 rebounds, and five assists, while Tomas Satoransky delivered an all-around game, starring defensively, scoring 14 points, and handing out seven assists.
Beal stepped up with 21 points in the first half, guiding the Wizards to a 72-49 halftime lead. Washington shot 24-of-48 from the field in the first half, while holding Atlanta to 17-of-50. Kelly Oubre Jr. had 12 points off the bench, while Troy Brown Jr. made several winning plays as he saw playing time with Wall and Green out.
The Wizards dished out a season-high 35 assists on 46 field goals, sharing the ball around. Four players had five or more assists, led by Beal’s nine. Washington shot 48.4% from the field overall, including 27-of-32 from the free throw line. The Wizards’ ability to get to the line in the first half gave them a great chance to win on the road.
"This is how we need to play," Beal said of the ball movement. "We have to play fast and that was easier because we got stops defensively, we were able to get out in transition and get some easy ones. We just continued to move the ball and share it. Everybody was moving tonight and that is the way that we need to play every game.”
Thomas Bryant had a career night, scoring a career-high 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds in only 20-plus minutes of action. Bryant played sound defensively and ran the floor, giving the Wizards energy in the first half especially.
"It’s hard to replace John Wall when he is not here so we all had to come together and just try to be aggressive from the start and try to take the Hawks out of the game as soon as we could," Bryant said postgame.
John Collins led the Hawks with 26 points, but the Wizards seemingly shut down the rest of the Hawks. Both teams shot 12-of-38 (31.6%) from deep, while turnovers plagued both teams at times.
"I thought our guys did a good job of battling and playing against a hungry team that wants to get some wins on their floor," Scott Brooks said postgame. "I thought our guys did a great job of closing out the game.”
The Wizards have now won nine of their last 14 games, and seem to have found an identity in their last three games. Next up, Washington (11-14) heads to Cleveland on Saturday to take on the Cavaliers at 7:30 P.M.