The Wizards welcome the Hawks to DC for their first meeting since last year’s playoff series.
Capital One Arena | 7:00 p.m. | NBCSW | 1500 AM | Buy Tickets
Wizards (6-5): G – Wall, G – Beal, F – Porter Jr., F – Morris, C – Gortat
Hawks (2-10): G – Schroder, G – Bazemore, F – Prince, F – Babbitt, C – Dedmon
Wizards: Sheldon Mac (Achilles – Out)
Hawks: Mike Muscala (Ankle – Doubtful), Deandre Bembry (Wrist – Out), Ersan Ilyasova (Knee – Out), Miles Plumlee (Quad – Out)
Believe it or not, the Wizards have not won consecutive games since winning their first three to begin the year. But, after a comfortable win over the Lakers on Thursday, they’ll have a good chance to string together back to back wins with the 2-10 Hawks in town tonight. A big word being thrown around this Wizards team right now is consistency, as that’s something they have been lacking through the first couple of weeks of the 2017-18 season. They’ve played well at times, but they’ve had too many lapses, especially on the defensive end which is why they are just 6-5 through the first 11 games. In two of their last three games, they’ve held their opponent to under 100 points, and wound up with wins in both games. They are now 3-0 this season when holding teams under 100 points and 46-8 over the last three seasons when they accomplish this feat. The Hawks played last night in Detroit and enter tonight’s game shorthanded, so this will be another good chance for a healthy Wizards squad to take advantage of a struggling team in DC.
Morris Finding his Stroke
Markieff Morris missed the first seven games of the season due to sports hernia surgery in September, but he now has four games under his belt and is coming off by far his best outing of the season, where he had 16 points on 6/7 shooting in 16 minutes against the Lakers on Thursday. Morris may have been the team’s fourth leading scorer on Thursday, as John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter all had 20+ points, but it can’t be overstated how important Morris’ role is on this team and seeing him look like his 2016-17 self again was very encouraging.
Hawks Come in Thin up Front
The Hawks made some large scale changes in the offseason and this will be a much different looking team than the one the Wizards played in the playoffs last season. The Hawks traded starting center Dwight Howard to Charlotte and lost Paul Millsap, Tim Hardaway Jr., Thabo Sefolosha, and Mike Scott to free agency.
They also have a load of injuries in their frontcourt, as they’ll be without Mike Muscala, Deandre’ Bembry, Ersan Ilyasova, and Miles Plumlee tonight, leaving them very thin on the front line. That will leave them with newly acquired center Dewayne Dedmon, rookie John Collins, Luke Babbitt, and Taurean Prince as the healthy bodies available to play minutes at the forward and center spots.
While they don’t have the same talent they had a year ago, this is a hungry Hawks team, and one that recently beat the Cavs and played the red hot Celtics and Pistons down to the wire. The Wizards are much more familiar with their backcourt of Dennis Schroder and Kent Bazemore and those will be two of the key players to slow down in order to secure another victory tonight.
The Wizards’ homestand wraps up on Monday when they host the Sacramento Kings. (7:00 p.m.)