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Wizards Finally Chalk Up First Win of the Season

Wizards 95
Hawks 92

November 4, 2016 – Verizon Center, Washington, DC

NBA Stats Box Score

The mood in the Washington Wizards locker room was as expected before the game. They were tired of talking about their winless start to the season. They were looking for revenge against the Hawks at home in front of a disappointing Friday night crowd.

Per usual, the home team had little trouble getting off to a fast start as the Wizards began the game on a 9-0 run. In the meantime, Atlanta had missed their first nine shots. Scott Brooks may have found a rotation that works and Washington was able to maintain a strong advantage into the third quarter when they led 53-37.

The Hawks whittled the Washington lead down to two on a couple of occasions but could not overcome the home team’s effort and hustle. Bradley Beal hit a 3-pointer with under four minutes to go to put Washington up 89-82 and the Wiz Kids were able to close things out, 95-92, for their first regular season victory in the Scott Brooks era.

The Game’s Top Performer

Markieff Morris

Yes, Bradley Beal had a career-high 14 free throw attempts tonight, but it was Morris who helped get it done on both ends of the court. Morris was used with the bench unit in the second quarter, a role that he flourished in to the tune of six points on three straight buckets. More impressively, Morris made All-Star Paul Millsap miserable, especially on the low-block. Millsap was 5 of 14 from the field with three turnovers and the worst plus/minus rating on the team, -15. Morris was also involved in defending Kyle Korver on the Hawks last second hope for a tying three ball. Beal thinks Morris was able to deflect what originally seemed to be an air ball.

A forgettable night for..

Jason Smith

With the injury to Ian Mahinmi, who is still on track to return in the next two weeks or so, the Wizards were forced to utilize Jason Smith more than expected as the backup center. That did not work out very well in the first half as the former Magic big was 0 of 3 from the field and committed two straight turnovers that led to four Atlanta points. Scott Brooks cut Smith’s minutes from 11:54 to 1:47 in the second half by utilizing Markieff Morris at center. Ironically enough, Smith finished with the second-best plus minus on the team with +11 behind only Morris (+15).

Key Stat of the Night

The common denominator in Washington’s three losses to start the season was defense! They blew leads in the fourth quarter, overtime, and in transition, respectively, but such was not the case tonight. The Atlanta Hawks shot a miserable 38.6 percent (aka 32-of-83) from the field and made just five 3-pointers the entire night.

Quick Hits

BREAKING: John Wall will NOT play tomorrow night in Orlando. Scott Brooks and John Wall both implied that this was an expected part of the rehab process but the rest of the team seemed surprised. Bradley Beal said, “I wish I knew that going in” when told that Wall would not play, while presumed starting point guard (at least for one night) Tomas Satoransky had no idea either. It is more amusing than serious that the team was not on the same page but it is a bit concerning that Wall does not know of a timeline of when he will start playing back-to-backs again. Washington has another Friday-Saturday back-to-back next week with Cleveland and Chicago.

Satoransky is more than free; he has the rope to run wild! Satoransky was the second man off the bench, after Andrew Nicholson, in the first half and first in the second half. Now with John Wall not playing tomorrow in Orlando, Satoransky may play upwards of 30 minutes. On the advice that he would give Satoransky, Wall said he would advise the “seasoned veteran” to just go out and play ball because he has been playing professionally for some time now.

Kelly Oubre Jr. has not played in the past three halves of Wizards basketball. Scott Brooks is heavily experimenting with Washington’s bench rotations, but advises those that are not playing to stay ready. The DC franchise traded with these Hawks to grab Oubre in last year’s draft but so far he has not made an impact on the team.

Closing Highlights:

John Wall dips through the defense.

John Wall jumper!

Bradley Beal had a season-high 28 points. Here was 3 of them.

Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for Hoop District covering the Wizards. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland, College Park. Neil also covers the Washington Redskins for Breaking Burgundy and Maryland Terrapins for Testudo Times. Neil previously covered the Wizards for District Sports Page and is looking forward to bring his in-person coverage to each of the loyal Hoop District followers.

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