As the Hawks looked to take down the Wizards in their last regular season game, they were also looking ahead to their playoff possibilities. They already had clinched home court for the first playoff game, but who it would be against was still unknown. They needed to stay focused and keep their eyes on what was in front of them, which was the Wizards.
The Hawks went into the game in DC confident having won 21 road games this season. As the game began, the Wizards seemed to be finding more of a rhythm as the Hawks struggled offensively early. They quickly regrouped as Tim Hardaway Jr. came off the bench and hit three three’s in the first quarter. Hawks defense stayed on top of things throughout the first and we ended the quarter tied with the Wizards at 33 and shooting 57% in the field.
The second quarter seemed to create good offensive opportunities for the Hawks early, and they continued to stay in the fight as Teague showed himself the offensive star thus far with 14 points and 3 assists through the second. Millsap was hot in the second quarter as well being 5-5 at line and putting up 12 points through the first half. The points were being well distributed as four Hawks players shot in double figures, Millsap, Hardaway, Teague, and Horford. As we were tied with Washington at 57 points each, Millsap hit a shot to extend the lead to two. Teague then turned over the ball with 5.6 seconds left in the half, giving the Wizards a chance to tie up the game, but the Hawks defense held them, and the Hawks went into the locker room at half time up by two, the score being 59-57.
The second half began to present its own challenges as the Hawks energy seemed low. Star three pointer Kyle Korver, had only attempted and made one shot all game. The Hawks allowed way too many turnovers in the third quarter, six not even five minutes into the half. Throughout, Washington obviously dominated as they began to lead and as the lead grew from eight to fifteen. Hawks seemed to be feeling new energy as they cut the Wizards lead to one with nine minutes left. The tough fought third quarter ended with Hardaway Jr. limping off the court resulting in a right hamstring sprain and the Hawks down by eight.
The fourth quarter began, with hopes to regain a lead and get back into the game. They came out with a lot of energy and began to tighten the score, only down by three points at one time in the fourth. Hawks were on fire at the beginning of the last quarter and had a 9-0 lead with nine minutes left, only down by one point! Throughout the whole game Washington rarely seemed to miss though. The Wizards lead grew to five with seven and a half minutes left. Washington’s, Ramon Sessions was incredible with 22 points and six assists as well as Nene with 19 points and eight assists. Four of their starters shot double digit points tonight. The Wizards were not allowing the Hawks to do much at all throughout the end of the game. As Washington took over, the Hawks allowed more turnovers. Overall, the Hawks did not execute through the end and had to take the loss as their last regular season game, the final score being 109-98.
The Hawks loss tonight against the Wizards, the Charlotte Hornets win against the Orlando Magic, and the Boston Celtics win against the Miami Heat results in the Hawks, a four seed, playing the Celtics, a five seed, in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
Photo credits: @atlhawks Instagram