Wizards vs. Hawks final score: Bradley Beal’s 36 lift Washington to 131-117 win over Atlanta

Six Wizards players score in double-figures, led by Bradley Beal with a season-high 36 as the Wizards took down the Hawks on Wednesday evening, 131-117. Otto Porter scored 20 and Kelly Oubre added 19 points off the bench for a short-handed Wizards squad that was without the services of John Wall (personal reasons) and Jeff Green (sore back) in Atlanta.

After a lackluster start to the game, the Wizards found their footing once they made the decision to lock in defensively. After getting crushed on the glass 11-5 to start this one, Washington ramped up the intensity and took the lead midway through the first quarter. A Thomas Bryant putback dunk followed by a couple of offensive rebounds to keep possessions alive got the Wizards going in this one.

Troy Brown Jr. got some first quarter playing time as a result of the team’s depth issues and took advantage of it early. Beal drove baseline and found the rookie for a floater in the lane for his first basket. A couple of possessions later, Brown returned the favor by gathering an offensive rebound and kicking it to Beal for a three-pointer as the Wizards took an eight point lead after one.

The Wizards opened this one up in the second quarter thanks to their bench. Kelly Oubre Jr.brought instant energy off the bench, scoring 12 points in the second quarter as Washington’s lead ballooned to 23 heading into halftime. It was arguably their best defensive half of the season and it was one of their best on the offensive end as well, as they assisted on 17 of their 24 made baskets.

After a stellar defensive performance in the first half, Washington turned in a clunker in the third quarter. They gave up 45 points in the period, which allowed Atlanta to get right back in the game. Two sloppy plays by Markieff Morris near the end of the quarter allowed the Hawks to get what was a 25-point lead back down to single digits heading into the fourth quarter.

With the Wizards lead trimmed down to five, 105-100 with ten minutes left, Tomas Satoranskycame up with a big three-pointer in transition that shifted the momentum back in Washington’s favor. The Wizards were able to take back control after that three and cruise to their third straight win, and ninth win in their last 14 games.

Takeaways

Bradley Beal calmly dominates the game

It’s really hard to score a quiet 36 points but Bradley Beal did it in this game. He was clearly the best player on the floor this evening and he played like it, scoring a season-high 36 points this evening and dishing out a team-high nine assists for Washington.

He was outstanding early on slicing his way to the basket and taking his man off the dribble for some close-in shots, leading the Wizards with 21 points at halftime.

Whenever the Wizards needed a basket in the second half once things were a little close for comfort, Beal stepped up to the plate. Whether it was a floater in the lane or a three-pointer from the wing, he gave the Wizards just what they needed to keep the Hawks at bay. He channeled the best parts of how he played during the ‘Everyone Eats’ phase last season to help Washington overcome John Wall’s absence.

Tomas Satoransky turns in a rock-solid performance

With John Wall sitting this one out due to personal reasons, that opened the door for Tomas Satoransky to run the show at point. He was outstanding tonight with 14 points on 5-7 shooting and knocked down some timely three-pointers in the fourth quarter when Atlanta clawed back within striking distance.

Scoring aside, he pitched a near-perfect game everywhere else. He led the charge defensively for Washington, forcing two steals and dished out seven assists without committing a turnover.

The Kelly Oubre experience takes its show on the road

Kelly Oubre has been frustratingly up-and-down all season and tonight, he continued one of his odd trends – he’s playing much better on the road than at home. After a 21-point night against the Knicks on Monday, he followed it up with 19 points and 5 rebounds in Atlanta.

Unlike Monday where he caught fire from deep, he did most of his damage in the paint against Atlanta, attacking the hole and getting to the line. He pushed the ball in transition for some easy shots and helped facilitate some ball movement in transition to set up Otto Porter for this layup.

The Wizards take care of a sub .500 team

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here; the Hawks are a lottery-bound basketball team. But, these were the kinds of games that Washington lost countless times last year. They’ve held serve recently against bottom-feeders like the Nets, Knicks, and Hawks. They’ll get another chance in a winnable game on Saturday as they take on the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

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Wizards vs. 76ers final score: Philadelphia blows out shorthanded Washington squad 123-98

Eight players scored in double figures on Friday evening as the Philadelphia 76ers rolled through the Wizards 123-98 for their fifth loss of over 20 points this season. Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 16 points and 15 rebounds and Ben Simmons had a near triple-double with 13 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists as this game was decided by halftime with Philly barely needing to break a sweat against a Wizards squad missing Dwight Howard and Otto Porter.

We’ve all seen this movie before. Washington didn’t bring any effort on the defensive end nor the defensive glass and before you knew it, the Wizards found themselves in a 25-14 hole. Philly didn’t shoot particularly well as they were just 11-of-29 from the field in the first quarter, but Washington gave them plenty of second-chance opportunities. The 76ers corralled nine offensive rebounds off of their 18 misses — a 50 percent offensive rebounding rate — leading to easy putbacks from close in.

And for the umpteenth time in this season, the Wizards found themselves in a double-digit hole at the end of one quarter as they trailed 31-19.

After a Jimmy Butler steal and a dunk 90 seconds into the second quarter, the Wizards found themselves in an even deeper 18-point deficit, 37-19. But you know the drill now. Washington locked in defensively for a couple of minutes and was able to trim the deficit to nine, but Philly countered with 20-7 run to close the half as the rout was on 68-46 at halftime.

Scott Brooks yanked the starters with three minutes remaining in the third quarter as the lead ballooned to 31 and it became clear it was time to shift focus to Saturday’s game against the Nets.

Takeaways

All of the Wizards poor habits were on full display tonight.

Terrible defense, poor shot selection, no effort on the glass –- the list goes on and on. I think we’re all getting serious #contentfatigue talking about this team’s flaws over and over again so let’s check in on the young guys why don’t we?

Thomas Bryant turns in another solid performance

Thomas Bryant got his sixth start of the season and after he was tasked with checking Anthony Davis on Wednesday, he had to try to lock down Joel Embiid tonight.

Like we’ve seen with Bryant over this stretch, his skill-set won’t wow you but it’s the intangibles that catch your eye. Early on after a nice defensive possession, Bryant sprinted the floor beating Embiid down court and John Wall rewarded him hitting the big man with a nice pass for an easy dunk.

In the second half, there was a defensive sequence where Embiid caught the ball on the low post and started backing down on Bryant. Bryant was able to stand his ground and challenged Embiid, swatting his shot away. Yes, it was just one play and Embiid clearly won the head-to-head battle; however, it was a pleasant sight seeing the second-year player attempt to challenge Embiid.

Troy Brown Jr. gets real NBA minutes

Up until tonight, Troy Brown Jr. had only seen the floor in garbage time of blowout games. But due to the Wizards being shorthanded with Porter out, combined with some early foul trouble, Brown ended up getting 4-plus minutes of meaningful playing time late in the first quarter and early into the second.

In his ‘welcome to the league, rookie’ moment, Brown was tasked with guarding Jimmy Butler. All things considered Brown did about as good of a job as you could have expected. He was sound defensively, played under control, and aside from one turnover in semi-transition, played fine during that 4:18 stretch.

Brown’s individual highlight in non-garbage time came on a backdoor pass to a cutting Tomas Satoransky for a reverse layup.

Brown re-entered the contest when this game reached garbage time late in the third quarter. He ended the night with 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists. If there are any positives to take away from tonight, it’s that Brown was able to get more experience and a few real NBA minutes.