Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) goes to the basket next to Washington Wizards guard Gary Payton II (20) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 10, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Photo: Nick Wass/AP
Photo: Nick Wass/AP

Hawks let late lead slip away in sloppy loss to Wizards

Below are some takeaways from the loss:

1. After trailing by as much as 15 points in the first half, the Hawks battled back and briefly took the lead in the third quarter, working their way to an 89-83 lead, their largest advantage of the game, with 8:39 to play. But things broke down quickly and the Hawks let another winnable game slip by as the Wizards responded with a 7-0 run and never looked back. The Hawks rushed shots and had back-to-back turnovers that led to layups by Washington guard Ish Smith as the game turned in the Wizards’ favor and stayed there. This game featured the team with the worst defensive rating in the league (the Wizards at 115.7) versus the team with the third-worst defensive rating (the Hawks at 113.2), so it figured to be a high-scoring affair, but the Hawks couldn’t get anything going down the stretch and faded fast. “We took some bad shots,” Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce said. “We took some shots that we didn’t need to. We stopped setting screens, we stopped rolling. We tried to find the home runs and the easy way out and this wasn’t one of those games where you need the easy way out. Ish Smith goes to coast-to-coast and gets two back-to-back layups because he wanted something a little bit more than our guys did tonight.”

2. By not doing the little things, the Hawks ended up with a big loss. The Wizards had 19 offensive rebounds (57 overall) compared to the Hawks’ nine (56 overall), with the Wizards tallying 29 second-chance points. The Hawks had 18 turnovers to the Wizards’ nine and shot 46.1% (41-for-89) from the field to the Wizards’ 37.5% (42-for-112). Pierce was disappointed in his team’s lack of effort, especially when it came to 50-50 ball scenarios. “They wanted it a little bit more,” Pierce said. “They had 23 more shots than us. They wanted it a little bit more. It’s inexcusable. ... They shot (37.5%) for the game. All of those things point to, those are the games you’re supposed to win, except for the effort department. And when you lack the competitive spirit that we had tonight, for some reason, you’re going to have 19 offensive rebounds given up and you’re going to have however many, 29 second-chance points given up. The lack of focus.” 

3. There weren't many positives for the Hawks from that fourth quarter, given that they let their lead slip away, but backup point guard and two-way player Brandon Goodwin scored 12 of his 14 points in the fourth to give the Hawks a chance to win. Goodwin has continued to be a reliable backup presence behind Trae Young, which allows the Hawks to rest Young without the offense falling apart. Outside of Goodwin (5-for-8 in the fourth), the Hawks shot 4-for-13 in the fourth quarter (overall, the were outscored 30-22). 

4. The Hawks did themselves no favors by going 50% from the free-throw line (12-for-24), wasting opportunities for points (the Hawks are 76.1% from the free-throw line on the season). “We missed 12 free throws,” Young said. “That can’t happen.” 

5. John Collins was active on defense and finished with a double-double of 15 points and 15 rebounds -- that’s his second double-double in a row and his fifth in his 13 games played this season. He had four blocked shots, which brings him to 10 in his last three games. In the fourth quarter, though, Collins sat out from the 5:15 mark to the 1:14 mark, with Pierce explaining postgame that he had gotten tired and needed a break: “That’s fatigue, and that’s why you sub. When you compete, you should play to exhaustion. Trying to keep bodies on the floor that aren’t giving you 100%, is tough. It wasn’t that he wasn’t giving us 100%; he played to exhaustion, and so you’ve got to get him out.” 

By the numbers 

11 (the amount of steals the Wizards tallied) 

Quotable 

“It was just super frustrating. I could not get a shot to fall tonight.” (Trae Young on his performance, particularly in the fourth quarter, after tallying 19 points on 7-for-20 shooting, with seven assists and six turnovers)

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X