In a game that was much closer than it should have been, the Washington Wizards beat the Atlanta Hawks by a score of 111-101. The Hawks were coming off of a three-game homestand in which they went 1-2. As for the Wizards, they were coming off of an 123-89 blowout loss by the Orlando Magic.
The Latvian Laser is back!
Earlier today, the Wizards were blessed with the return of forward Davis Bertans, which helped their offense immensely. While Bertans did not have his best game, his presence was felt. He managed to score 14 points and grab seven rebounds coming off the bench. Bertans managed to shoot 5-12 from the field and 3-8 from beyond the arc in his first game back. He also was the most impactful player on the team according to plus/minus, going +21.
The Wizards started off slow, missing their first three shots of the game before a jumper from Gary Payton II put the Wizards on the board. After a slow start, they began to get into rhythm later in the period to make it 30-21 at the end of one.
In the third quarter, the Hawks came alive, taking a 60-59 lead. However, the Wizards were quick to respond, going on a 6-0 run to take back the lead. But the Hawks continued to fight back and at the end of the third quarter, the Wizards led 81-79.
The Wizards were going to need a big run in order to win this game though. The Hawks managed to build their lead up to 89-83 with 8:06 left in regulation.
Then, Ish Smith came to the rescue. Once he made his first basket, he got hot and it came at exactly the right time. In those final six minutes, Ish accounted for eight points and two assists. A Davis Bertans three with 44.2 seconds left in the game helped seal the win for the Wizards.
The Hawks bench accounted for 29 points while the Wizards bench scored 51. Troy Brown led the Wizards with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Are the Wizards beginning to turn things around?
With this win, the Wizards have now won three out of their last four games. Keep in mind that this has all been without Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Mortiz Wagner, CJ Miles, John Wall, and most recently Garrison Matthews. Bertans was also out for a significant period until tonight.
If the Wizards can continue to play better defensively and get healthy bodies back, there should be no reason why this team can’t continue this level of play. After all, a team this shorthanded has beaten the Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, and Boston Celtics.
If that is without seven players, what can they do with most of them healthy? After all, the season isn’t over yet. With a key stretch coming up against four playoff teams from last season, this team has a chance to keep surprising people.