Recap: Don’t let the final score mislead you, this one was ugly from the beginning by both squads. Turnovers, missed layups, missed wide open shots; this game had it all. The Wizards looked exactly like they did at the beginning of the Milwaukee game; flat and uninspired. The only difference was that Paul Pierce was not there to carry the team during their hardships this time. The Wizards shot a porous 5/17 from the floor including 7 turnovers but used a 7-0 run at the end of the first quarter to cut the Hawks lead at 3.
As I’ve been saying all year (including last season) the Wizards always seem to have trouble with small and speedy point guards. Tonight was no different. Jeff Teague got to the rim at will and ended the night with 28 points and 3 assists. Much of this was due to the Wizards poor defense tonight. Also, the decision to switch the big men onto Teague on the pick and rolls was quite puzzling. Often, Gortat or Humphries were stuck in no mans land trying to guard Teague at the top of the key. As expected, that usually did not end well for the Wizards.
Drew Gooden was a bright spot for the Wizards in the first half. He remained very active on the boards (including the offensive glass) and knocked down 3 of 5 jump shots in the half. The Wizards shot a horrific 36% in the first half but managed to only be down 41-39 at half.
About 4 minutes into the 4th quarter, it looked like the Wizards were finally going to take control and pull away. The Wizards pushed the lead to three but the Hawks countered with a 7-0 run. Later in the quarter the Hawks stretched the lead on some great play by former Wizard Shelvin Mack and and his fellow bench mate Mike Scott. The Wizards waited until the last minute of the 4th quarter before they decided to knock down shots. They scored 14 points in the final minute of the 4th quarter including 4 threes. The Hawks were able to knock down their free throws to solidify the win. The loss drops the Wiz to 9-4. No time to sulk and complain as the Wiz travel to Cleveland to take on the Cavs tomorrow night.