WASHINGTON -- The Hawks capped off their four-game road trip with a 114-107 win over the Wizards Friday night. The Hawks swept the Wizards in the two-game series and are one game above .500 at 34-33.
Here are five observations.
1. A 10-point lead is nothing in the NBA and the Wizards threatened down the stretch. Several free throws from Bradley Beal, Kyle Kuzma, Monte Morris and Kristaps Porzingis, as well as a layup from Beal cut a double-digit Hawks lead to 109-107 with 20.7 seconds left in the game.
But the Hawks have emphasized their communication on defense over the last few days and made some key stops down the stretch.
Out of a timeout with 14 seconds to go, Beal looked to drive into the lane for a layup. But Dejounte Murray stuck by his side and drove him down the lane where De’Andre Hunter cut off his path to the basket and rushed his attempt at a layup. Murray then fought to secure the rebound and drew a foul.
After Murray made both free throws, Beal tried to knock down a 3-pointer with eight seconds left in the game and the Hawks grabbed the rebound to secure the win.
“I felt like on the defensive end today, we were more connected than we have been,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said.
2. The Hawks came into the night looking to limit Porzingis after allowing him to score a career-high 43 points on Wednesday night. They held him to 22 points and took away many of the “practice shots” that Snyder said they needed to avoid.
With the team connected on the defensive end, the Hawks limited the number of times they overhelped, which allowed them to close off opportunities for Porzingis from outside.
The 7-foot-3 center made just three of his seven attempts from 3, after burning the Hawks for 7-of-10 shooting from distance in the previous game.
In addition to that, the Hawks created more opportunities for themselves on the offensive end.
“It’s the end of the year and teams are supposed to be hitting their strides and connecting and clicking,” Hawks guard Trae Young said. “So, I think we’re just trying to do that on both ends and not just one. And so we got to keep it going. Took care of our two games here and we got to keep going.”
Young had 28 points and nine assists, as well as two steals.
3. The Hawks got another huge lift from their bench, particularly from Bogdan Bogdanovic and Saddiq Bey. The two combined for 29 of the Hawks’ 37 bench points to provide the team with a boost in the second half.
The bench has averaged 38.2 points per game over the last five.
With both Bey and Bogdanovic firing on all cylinders and Onyeka Okongwu and Jalen Johnson provided the Hawks some strong defense at the rim, the unit has provided plenty of spark for the team.
“I think it’s impactful, especially when you’ve come out of the game, and you see the guys that come in for you,” Snyder said. “There’s a mentality that’s created. And when you come in, you want to keep doing the same thing. I think that’s what we’ve seen with that group.”
4. Thanks to the accuracy from Bogdanovic and Bey as well as Young, the Hawks shot 15-of-31 from 3. The Hawks have been a much better 3-point shooting team with the addition of Bey to the roster.
Over the last 10 games, the Hawks have made 40.1% of their shots from distance.
5. In addition to a strong night from the bench, the Hawks had a big start from Hunter, who scored seven of the team’s first 13 points. Hunter has been trying to work himself back into a rhythm after falling out of it due to some frustrating nights over the last three games.
But he ended the night with 18 points and seven rebounds.
“My first couple shots (made) whenever that happens, you always have more confidence throughout the game,” Hunter said. “So, just seeing those shots going in and just builds my confidence and my teammates are telling me to keep being aggressive too. So that helps.”
Hawks 114, Wizards 107
Stat to know
5 -- Trae Young has had at least five 3-pointers in a game five times this season and 54 times in his career.
“(We) try to be the best version of ourselves by the end of the year. Right? That’s true. So I liked not that we were 500, I liked that we played better as a trip went on and I liked that we played better defense as the trip went on.” -- Coach Quin Snyder on how he evaluates the team after splitting a road trip 2-2.
The Hawks host the Celtics on Saturday at State Farm Arena.
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