The Hop- Led by Bradley Beal’s 28 points and John Wall’s 21/10/6 line the Wizards earned their first victory of the season against the Hawks. The Wiz finally put a full 48 minutes together that showcased their potential. They played tough physical defense, attacked the boards, and shot well from the free throw line. This is exactly the type of identity building game that the Wizards needed.
The first time the Wizards played the Hawks, the frontline of Dwight Howard of Paul Millsap dominated, combining for 39 points, 26 rebounds, and 4 blocks. This time around the Wizards did a collective job of boxing out both Millsap and Howard, they even won the rebound battle and playing physical defense against Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard. On the perimeter instead of allowing 12 3-pointers, the Wizards only allowed two 3-pointer in the first half, and four for the game. Even when the Hawks responded from being 9-0 to momentarily taking the lead 18-17 off a Dwight Howard lob, the Wizards didn’t falter under the pressure. The bench even played well, although they didn’t score much, they meshed well when playing with at least one starter and didn’t cost the team as much as they did in prior games.
In the second half it was Bradley Beal turn to wake the monster inside of him. In the final 24 minutes Beal scored 20 points. On a variety of 3-pointers, free throws, and drives Beal dominated and broke out of his slump. The Wizards continued to lockdown the Hawks perimeter attack and controlled the glass and neutralized the threat of Dwight Howard.
The formula of physical defense, collective rebounding/boxing out, and getting Bradley Beal allowed will be the formula that will Wizards win games and allow them to advance in the playoffs. They must be able to put together more games like this one in order to climb the Eastern Conference heirarchy to even have a chance against teams like the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Can Beal Finally String Along Some Strong Games:
If you asked anyone pregame how they were expecting Bradley Beal to preform, most would tell you that he was due for a breakout game. Beal met those expectations with his 28 points, staying aggressive hitting 13-15 free throws to make up for inefficiency with his jumper. Combined with the Wizards playing with a sense of urgency and playing harder than they have all season.
The Wizards committed 19 inexcusable turnovers. Most of those came from players attempting to do much with the ball or going for big plays instead of just simple passes. Turnovers have recently have become such a bad issue that Scott Brooks has to be more than concerned. Turning the ball over that frequently against the teams like the Cavs will be a death sentence. Scott Brooks has to do a better job of preaching patience and ball security to his team.