Hawks beat Wizards 114-99 for 7th straight win
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks overcame a lackluster start with a big finish. When Kent Bazemore and company got rolling, the Washington Wizards just couldn’t keep up.
Bazemore scored 16 of his career-high 25 points in the second half, and the Hawks beat the Wizards 114-99 on Saturday night for their seventh straight win.
Paul Millsap had 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists for Atlanta, and Al Horford scored 14 points. Jeff Teague finished with 10 points, eight assists and five steals.
The Hawks tied a season low with 41 first-half points on a season-worst 35.4 percent shooting. But they scored 73 in the second half and put the Wizards away with a game-ending 24-7 run.
Coming off a 118-98 loss at Boston on Friday night, the Wizards surrendered 33 points on a season-high 26 turnovers.
Bazemore, the only new starter for an Atlanta team that set a franchise record with 60 victories last season, is settling into the small forward role that was occupied last by DeMarre Carroll, who signed with Toronto during free agency.
Bazemore was 10 for 14 from the field, including 4 for 7 from 3-point range.
“I think we kind of wore them out,” he said. “Our depth is something we love, and lean on. Keep guys coming in and out. Guys are playing harder, cutting harder as the game goes on. A lot of (opponents) get fatigued.”
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer used 10 players for at least 14 minutes, and only one starter — Millsap (34 minutes) — played more than Bazemore’s 29:09. Three Washington starters played at least 36:16.
The Wizards carried a 78-75 lead into the final period, but the Hawks grabbed the lead for good when rarely used Mike Muscala made a 3-pointer with 6:09 left. Muscala had played in just two previous games without scoring.
Bazemore then stole a John Wall pass, and Dennis Schroeder followed with a layup. Bazemore stole another Wall pass and drove for a layup to make it 99-94 with 4:02 left.
Otto Porter paced the Wizards with a career-high 23 points. Wall added 19 points and 12 assists, and Marcin Gortat (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Nene (10 points, 10 rebounds) added double-doubles.
Washington took 14 fewer shots than Atlanta because of turnovers. Atlanta had 15 turnovers, and a season-high 37 assists.
“A lot of (the turnovers) I’ve never seen at this level,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman. “I’d rather they threw the ball up in the upper deck 26 times so at least I could get the defense set.”
Washington’s Bradley Beal was held to a season-low 11 points and committed eight turnovers.
“Bradley Beal is one of the toughest covers in the league coming off screens,” Budenholzer said. “We can put Dennis on him at times, Baze on him at times, and Thabo (Sefolosha) to switch the look up, and we also switched up on John Wall.”
Wizards: Beal’s streak of scoring 24 or more points ended at five games as he scored 11. Beal and Earl Monroe (1968) are the only players in franchise history to score at least 24 points in the season’s first give games.
Hawks: Sefolosha scored a season-high 10 points. ... F/C Tiago Splitter was inactive for the first time this season. Budenholzer said it was just a rest day. ... Atlanta was coming off a 121-115 victory at New Orleans on Friday.
Atlanta has recorded at least 20 assists in every game.
Wizards: Host Oklahoma City on Tuesday night.
Hawks: Host Minnesota on Monday night.