The Atlanta Hawks played a short-handed home match against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Entering the game, the Hawks only had 9 healthy players on their 15-man roster, including just one healthy center in Elton Brand. They were going to have to come up with a heroic effort on a back to back to stay in this game. Sadly, things spiraled out of control early for the Hawks as they found themselves in a 17-point hole after the first quarter.
The Hawks looked completely lost for most of the first half, owning a 20 point deficit for most of the 2nd quarter. However, through some yeoman’s work by Elton Brand, and some late 3-point shooting by Korver and Lou Williams, Atlanta managed to cut the lead down to 11. The Hawks had 6 turnovers in the first half, and were out-rebounded 25-21, losing most of the physical battles on the floor. In order to win the game in the second half, they needed to turn those stats around, make some more 3-pointers, and get better penetration to the lane for some easy buckets.
The Hawks actually did make a game of it in the second half, coming out hot with a 20-10 run. That brought the Hawks with a point at 67-68. However, the lack of depth kept the Hawks from making that next level move to take over the game. If the team was at full strength, I have no doubt they would have handled this Wizards team easily. Instead, the Wizards shot 52% from the floor, and dominated the scoring all night. Nobody is going to feel sorry for your team in the NBA though, especially over injuries. What made matters worse was that Jeff Teague had to hobble off the court to the locker room with an apparently injury in the 4th quarter.
In the end, the Hawks lose their 7th straight, continuing the worst slump of the year. Elton Brand and Paul Millsap both had incredible efforts with 20+ points each, and 11 rebounds apiece. Jeff Teague had 16 point with 5 assists before he exited the game with that injury. Even Lou Williams helped out with 14 points off the bench. It just wasn’t enough to stop the Wizards from putting triple digits on the board. Thankfully, the Hawks get a day off on Thursday so they can get some modicum of rest before they take on the Pistons this Friday. They desperately need a win in Detroit to end this slump, and right the ship in the playoff standings while they heal up.