Hawks Fall to Wizards for Seventh Straight Loss

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
By Robby Kalland

Washington Wizards v Atlanta Hawks

The shorthanded Hawks (25-28) fought back from a 20 point second quarter deficit to get within one in the third quarter, but their lack of depth proved to be too costly as the Wizards (26-28) pulled away in the fourth quarter on their way to a 114-97 victory.

Hawks vs. Wizards
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The Hawks had only nine healthy players as DeMarre Carroll (hamstring), Gustavo Ayon (shoulder), Pero Antic (ankle), John Jenkins (back), and Al Horford (pectoral) were all out with injury and Jared Cunningham remains in Bakersfield. The frontcourt was particularly sparse, as Elton BrandPaul Millsap, and Mike Scott were the only options for Coach Bud at center and power forward.

That trio put forth a great effort, but seemed to run out of gas down the stretch. Brand had a season-high 20 points and 11 rebounds on an efficient 7-of-11 shooting. Millsap had a rough 1-of-7 start as the Hawks fell behind 48-28 in the second quarter, but came on strong in the third quarter and finished with a team-high 21 points with 11 rebounds as he made 6-of-11 to end the game. Scott struggled a bit, and had some ball-handling issues as he finished with four points and five rebounds in his 20 minutes of playing time.

Jeff Teague got off to a poor start, but turned it on in the late second quarter and carried that momentum into the third as he finished with 16 points and five assists. Teague seemed to wake up after he was hit with a foul on a play that he thought was a clean block. From then, Teague’s intensity and aggressive play picked up, and he was dominant in the third quarter helping the Hawks cut the Wizards lead from 11 at the half to just one with 5:24 to play in the third quarter.

Teague rolled his ankle late in the fourth quarter when he landed on Marcin Gortat‘s foot and had to exit the game, bringing the Hawks healthy player count to just eight. He will be re-evaluated tomorrow as the Hawks have one day off prior to another back-to-back beginning in Detroit.

Despite the Hawks third quarter rally, the Wizards got back into the game thanks to a little luck. Up just two with 10 seconds to play, Washington got a big three-pointer from Martell Webster on a contested look from the right corner. The real back-breaker was a three quarter-court heave from Trevor Ariza that hit nothing but net at the buzzer to give the Wizards an eight-point lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The Hawks got within five in the fourth quarter, but could never complete the comeback as tired legs and good Wizards shooting proved too much to handle in the final quarter. Trevor Booker and Webster had some big buckets in the fourth, and the Hawks could not find any openings as their offensive pace slowed down.

Kyle Korver finished with 10 points and was 4-of-5 from the field (2-of-3 from deep) as he extended his three-point streak to 122 games. Korver was efficient, but was kept pretty well under wraps by the Wizards defense who chased him around the three-point line all night.

Lou Williams came off the bench and had another nice outing with 14 points. Despite a 3-for-9 shooting performance, Williams looked more explosive and aggressive attacking defenders to earn nine free throw attempts (making 7).

In the end, the slow start and too few bodies proved to be too much. The Wizards played very well, hitting 13-of-24 from beyond the arc, and got big games from John Wall (21 points and 12 assists), Bradley Beal (19 points and six assists), and Trevor Ariza (19 points and nine rebounds). The Hawks will have to hope that they get a little healthier before Friday in order to limit fatigue as they head to Detroit to face a struggling Pistons team, who just so happen to have a ton of frontcourt size.

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Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE/Getty Images

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