The Atlanta Hawks won their second game in a row Wed., Dec. 27, defeating the Washington Wizards 113-99. The fourth quarter has been good to the Hawks these past two games with 33 points being scored last Saturday night in a win over Dallas and 35 (compared to Washington’s 23 points) coming in the final 12 minutes of play against the Wizards tonight. For a team that has had a problem finishing games this season – The Hawks are now 9-25 overall and 6-11 at home this season- the past two fourth quarters have been quite the Christmas and Kwanzaa presents. “The energy on both ends tonight was really good,” said Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. “I thought our bench in both halves was huge.”
On a night where his team won and all five starters finished the game in double-figures led Dennis Schroder with 21 points and Ersan Ilyasova with 20 points, the bench was one of the coach’s keys to the victory. Marco Belinelli scored 19 points (nine during the first quarter) and John Collins added eight points to go with eight rebounds in in 23 minutes of play. Malcolm Delaney, the last man off the bench tonight, contributed seven points while Isaiah Taylor added five.
The end of the third quarter set the tone for the rest of the game as the Hawks went ahead 78-76 on a Collins tip-in at the buzzer. A Belinelli three-pointer, he would make two of his three attempts, and a Collins dunk would put Atlanta ahead by six points. The Hawks would have their largest lead of the second half, nine points, at the 7:30 mark. Schroder, with a layup, and Ilyasova with five unanswered points, would put an end to any Washington late run with three minutes to play.
The Wizards led by as many as 11 points late in the second quarter and were led in scoring by by Bradley Beal with 20 points and Markieff Morris with 18 points. Multi-time all-star point guard John Wall was 3-9 from the field for 10 points to go with a game-high 11 assists.
The 14-point victory makes for the first two-game win streak of the season for Atlanta with a game in Toronto on Fri., Dec. 29 and a end-of-year meeting with Portland at Philips Arena on Saturday night, Dec. 30.