Reserve Nick Young led the Wizards with a team-high 21 points last night in Atlanta, in a game in which most of Washington’s starters struggled to find the net. The Wizards fell as a result, in a 101-83 road loss to a balanced Hawks attack. Joe Johnson led Atlanta with a team-high 18 points as all five Hawk starters scored in double-digits.
“They’ve got so much energy,” John Wall told the media after the game. “All they did was attack, attack, attack. They were just making their shots.” The Hawks opened with an 11-0 run to start the first quarter and they never looked back. The Wizards never led and trailed by as many as 23 in the second half. Wall finished behind Young with 20 points on the night, but the second-year guard struggled as a facilitator.
On the first Wizards possession, Hawks forward Marvin Williams interrupted an entry pass by Wall which was intended for Andray Blatche in the post. The Hawks scored as a result of the turnover, one of Wall’s six in the game. In response, Blatche attempted and missed a 21′ jumper on the next Wizards possession. The poor decision led to a three ball by Hawks guard Jeff Teague, which gave Atlanta the early momentum.
‘Dray ended up 0-for-7 over the first half, missing four lay-ups in the process. He tried to establish himself in the paint–and give credit to Hawks Al Horford and Josh Smith for their tough interior defense–but he didn’t try to avoid fadeaway jump shots, either, which has been the main criticism of Blatche over his stay with the Wizards–especially after he asked for the ball in the paint Monday, following a loss to the New Jersey Nets. If Blatche wants to work in the paint he has to keep going to the paint, simple as that.
Blatche finished 2-for-13 from the field, with both makes–a jumper and a lay-up–coming in the third quarter. The lay-up happened to be the result of a Young to Ronny Turiaf to Blatche exchange, similar to the dunk ‘Dray had on Monday, in which a Turiaf screen did most the work. ‘Dray’s lack of production compounded a lack of backcourt production, as guards Jordan Crawford and Shelvin Mack combined for 0-for-11 from the field. Crawford finished 0-for-6 in his return to Atlanta and five of his attempts were from behind the three point arc. Crawford, a 24.4% career shooter from deep, is best stepping into a mid-jumpshot at this stage of his career, while Mack has a quick trigger he needs to learn to control. Mack has combo-guard skills but he needs to prove his worth as a distributor first, then look for his own shot.
Young, a candidate for the starting shooting guard role should Crawford continue to struggle, knocked down 6-for-12 off the bench last night, and half of his makes were from beyond the perimeter. Wall connected on 6-for-15 from the field but cleaned up at the free throw line, where he sank 8-for-10 in another aggressive outing. Unfortunately, Blatche didn’t follow suit.
– NBA.com Recap: WAS @ ATL (Video)
The Wizards will challenge the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET on Comcast SportsNet+ and NBALP. Rookie Jan Vesely missed last night’s game with a sore hip and the flu. He may miss Friday’s game as well as a result.