Hawks Unable to Complete Another Comeback; Lose to Wizards
The Hawks dug themselves a third quarter hole for the second straight night, but, unlike Friday night against the Mavericks, they were unable to complete the comeback, falling to the Wizards 108-101.
|Hawks vs. Wizards|
With 8:12 to play in the third, the Wizards took an 18-point lead on a Nene jumper. The Hawks cut the lead to nine by the end of the quarter and got it to as little as two in the fourth but were never able to reel the Wizards completely in.
John Wall led Washington with a game-high 26 points, 12 assists and five steals. Wall’s impact was felt on both ends of the floor as he attacked the rim on offense and pressured Jeff Teague into a 5-for-18 shooting night. Teague was held to 15 points and five assists, and he committed five turnovers. Atlanta dropped to 1-7 when Teague scores 15 points or fewer, and he has not shot better than 41.2% in those games (27.8% tonight).
The Wizards as a team shot 50% (12-of-24) from three-point range, and their barrage was led by Trevor Ariza (5-of-6) and Martell Webster (5-of-9). Ariza and Webster combined for 43 points and were often the beneficiaries of Wall’s penetration and kick-outs leading to open looks.
Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 23 points and 10 rebounds and made four of his five three-point attempts, most of which came during the team’s second half comeback bid. Five other Hawks reached double figures with Teague, Al Horford, DeMarre Carroll, Shelvin Mack, and Cartier Martin all eclipsing 10 points.
Scoring was not the Atlanta’s’ problem, but turnovers and poor defense led to their demise. The Hawks had 17 turnovers on the game, leading to 18 Wizards points, and, coupled with the aforementioned troubles defending the three-point line in the half-court, the Hawks were unable to slow down the Wizards offense, allowing them to shoot 48.7% from the field.
The Hawks’ defensive woes in the game were numerous, but the issue for the Hawks in most of their losses has been an inability to control penetration. The Hawks defense is committed to packing the lane to protect the rim, which inevitably leaves shooters open on the perimeter. When the Hawks are forced to collapse down on penetration throughout the game, the closeouts on shooters become more difficult, and the opposition has more opportunities to make three-pointers. Defending the three-point line begins with defending better against the initial penetration.
The Hawks fall back to .500 at 9-9 after the loss, and the Wizards move just a half-game behind the Hawks at 8-9.
Tweet of the Night
@ATLHawks with no "big stars" on this squad they are a very exciting "team" to watch!!! Loving this season so far!
— Richard Malek (@kupkinch10) December 1, 2013
Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images