Wall, Ariza lead Wizards over Hawks, 108-101
A slow start to the season turned into Washington’s best
November in 29 years.
John Wall had 26 points and 12 assists, Trevor Ariza scored 24
points and made five 3-pointers, and the Wizards beat the Atlanta
Hawks 108-101 on Saturday night.
The Wizards lost their first three games and seven of their
first nine, but have now won six of their last eight. They won
eight games in November for the first time since 1984.
”This was a good month for us. It was a tough start to the
month, to the season. We didn’t want to get the start we had, but
it happened,” coach Randy Wittman said.
Washington has played the last four games without starting guard
Bradley Beal, hasn’t had first-round draft choice Otto Porter at
all, and still managed to nearly break even. Their 8-9 record isn’t
what they want it to be, but still makes the Wizards one of the
better teams in the Eastern Conference.
With the Hawks’ loss, there are just two teams in the conference
with winning records.
”I really don’t want to look at it like that. I want to see how
good we can be, but if you look at the conference, a lot of teams
are kind of in the middle right now. We’re trying to find ourselves
as a team, trying to put it together. Hopefully we can get it
going. I think we will,” Atlanta center Al Horford said.
Martell Webster added 19 points for Washington and also had five
3-pointers. Nene, who returned after missing Friday’s game at
Indiana with a right Achilles tendon injury, had 13 points and 12
Paul Millsap had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which
cut an 18-point, third-quarter deficit to 81-79 with 9:42 left, but
could not get closer.
Horford added 16 points and Jeff Teague had 15 for the
Ariza scored eight points in the final 9:20 to help secure the
”We’re showing growth. We’re showing maturity. I feel we’re
ready to take the next step and become a playoff team,” Ariza
Washington got some of its roughest road games out of the way,
losing to Oklahoma City, Dallas and San Antonio in a rough
three-game trip. The Wizards also lost to Miami and Indiana on the
”It wasn’t the easiest schedule to start with. I think it might
be a positive in the long run playing against some top quality
teams on the road early in the season,” Wittman said.
Washington took the lead early in the first quarter and led
28-20 after one. Thanks to two 3-pointers late in the second
quarter by Webster, the Wizards led 54-44 at halftime.
Washington hit on five of its first six shots in the third
quarter to take a 66-48 lead with 8:12 to play.
The Hawks answered with an 11-0 run to cut the lead to 66-59
with 4:20 to play, and Washington led 79-70 after three.
Wall had his first three games of 30-plus points from Nov.
22-26. He followed it with a 19-point performance on Wednesday at
Milwaukee, but had a bad night against the Pacers on Friday,
shooting just 4 for 14. Saturday night was much better.
”When we’re healthy, I feel we can compete with anybody,” Wall
”We didn’t panic because we knew what kind of team we had. We
have a team that’s capable of being in the playoffs,” Wall
NOTES: Atlanta G Kyle Korver missed his third straight game with
a bruised rib. . G Lou Williams didn’t play because Budenholzer has
chosen not to use him in back-to-back games as he recovers from ACL
surgery. . The Hawks’ next game is on Tuesday at San Antonio, where
Budenholzer spent nearly 20 years as a video coordinator and
assistant coach. ”I’m not allowed to look ahead. You’ve allowed to
ask, but I can’t look ahead,” Budenholzer said. ”Tomorrow or the
next day I can think about that, but right now I’m thinking about
Washington.” . F Al Harrington missed his ninth straight game with
a right knee injury. . Wittman and Budenholzer were each assessed a
technical foul in the second quarter for arguing a foul call.