The MVP for the Wizards tonight was Bradley Beal. After picking up two quick first quarter fouls, Beal played a solid, well-controlled game. Beal made five of his 12 shots, including a total of 16 points in the second half. He also grabbed two nice steals.
I question Wittman’s decision to sit Beal as long as he did in the 4th, as he was playing very well.
Here’s to hoping tonight’s game was the confidence boost Beal needed to begin playing more consistently.
Kevin Seraphin spelled a largely ineffective Okafor and came on to score 19 points off the bench. Kevin worked through some questionable first half shooting to secure a field goal percentage of over 50%, hitting nine of 16 from the floor. He also grabbed seven rebounds and made 2 blocks.
This performance was more of what the Wizards have grown accustomed to as Seraphin continues to develop his game.
For a player maligned by his home crowd for taking long jumpers, Josh Smith's game tonight should temporarily pacify the critics. Josh scored 23 points on a respectable 45% shooting from the floor, while also grabbing 15 rebounds.
His impact, however, would be felt much deeper, as he presented match-up problems and trouble on the boards for the Wizards throughout the game. Josh was also a big part of the final run by the Hawks in the closing few minutes that put the game firmly out of the Wizards’ reach.
After trailing by double digits for nearly the entire game, the Wizards played very well in the third quarter, successfully bringing the Hawks’ lead down to as few as 2 points. The Wizards shot well from the floor, created turnovers, and played slightly better perimeter defense.
Combining this effort and the solid play to begin the 4th quarter, the Wizards made what seemed to be an early blowout into a competitive game. The Wizards would go on to outscore the Hawks 54-50 in the second half.
The key difference in this game was mostly likely the first quarter deficit the Wizards worked themselves into. While the remaining three quarters were played fairly evenly, Washington worked itself into a 12-point hole early on thanks to poor shooting and bad defensive rotating.
Chris Singleton started well, but was soon outplayed by the Hawks’ more skilled front court. Emeka Okafor did little to offset the poor play and was quickly benched, while Shaun Livingston picked up three very quick fouls and essentially saw his night come to an end.
The Wizards once again struggled to defend their opponent’s three-point shooters. The Hawks enjoyed sustained success behind the arc, including a 5-11 line from former Wizard DeShawn Stevenson. The Wizards surrendered several three pointers from the corners, as Hawks shooters leaked out all game.
Also chipping in from long distance for the Hawks were Louis Williams, Josh Smith, and Devin Harris.
The Wizards fall to 2-14 on the season.