By: Joshua Vinson (@TheJoshAVinson)
ATLANTA—The Washington Wizards started their NBA season on the road against the Atlanta Hawks. Their intentions were to make a statement and spoil the homecoming of Dwight Howard. Perhaps that was their plan up until the fourth quarter Atlanta ran away and defeated Washington 114-99.
This game was quite competitive up until that point. The Wizards found themselves down 81-80 on a night where their All-Star guard, John Wall was cold and finished the night shooting 3-for-15 from the field with 12 points. The second unit came in to start the fourth and Atlanta ran away. The Hawks outscore the Wizards 33-19 in the fourth and there wasn’t anything Head Coach Scott Brooks could draw up to stop the bleeding.
“That fourth quarter we turned the ball over too many times,” said Scott Brooks. He went on to say “they got about 13 points on 8 turnovers…we got to do a better job defensively.”
Scott Brooks also addressed the collapse of the second unit.
“it’s just one game.” Head coach Brooks reiterated, then continued by saying “they will get better…we will play better…I thought the second unit..(well) we have to figure out how to score. We have to focus on getting stops and helping us score.”
Scott Brooks makes a valid point that’s it’s only one game. Of course, the Wizards don’t want to get into the habit of saying that but in this instance, there’s no reason to panic. Backup point guard, Trey Burke, had a solid night with eight points and shooting 4-for-7 from the field. The bench as a whole contributed 38 points.
However, they had no answer for Tim Hardaway Jr, who shot out of his shooting slump scoring 21 points on with 8-for-13 from the field including three 3-pointers. The Hawks offense was coming from other players as well. Paul Millsap went 11-for-20 from the field and shot 50% from downtown and had 28 points. Not to mention the fact that the hometown kid, Dwight Howard crashed the boards hard, finishing with 19 rebounds and 11 points. He also was solid at the free throw line as he went 3-for-4.
The Wizards will spend the night in Atlanta and then travel to Memphis, Tennessee in the morning. The Grizzlies are actually on their way to New York to play against the Knicks for their opening night game on Saturday before hosting the Wizards on Sunday. Wizards will have a tired Grizzlies team that is very gritty, but they must remember to play all four quarters.