If a 35-point loss at Brooklyn marked the low point for the Washington Wizards, the next two games showed the heights the team can achieve. The Wizards will try to follow up a win over the Boston Celtics on Christmas Day and pick up their third consecutive victory when they visit the NBA-worst Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
Washington shot 36.6 percent from the floor and got a total of 14 points from the star backcourt duo of Bradley Beal and John Wall in a 119-84 loss at Brooklyn on Friday but shot 54.7 percent in a 130-103 win over the Orlando Magic the next night before using a late 12-0 run to skip past the host Celtics in a 111-103 win on Monday. “It goes back to our record versus teams over and under .500,” Beal told reporters. “I guess you can call it one of those situations. This is Christmas Day. Anxiety’s going. This is the team that beat us last year. We had every reason in our mind to come out and play with energy and play with focus, the right way. We just got to realize if we play like this every night, we’re going to be capable of winning every game.” The Hawks own the fewest wins in the league but one of those came last time out, when point guard Dennis Schroder came back from an ankle injury and scored 33 points. Schroder is averaging 25.1 points on 52.9 percent shooting in Atlanta wins and 17.9 points on 41.9 percent in losses.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBCS Washington, FS Southeast (Atlanta)
ABOUT THE WIZARDS (19-15): Wall is shooting just 36.5 percent from the field in seven games since returning from a knee injury but managed 21 points and 14 assists in the win over the Celtics while committing only one turnover. “There are some games he doesn’t have it offensively, but he tries to do his best to impact the game,” Washington coach Scott Brooks told reporters of Wall. “Tonight, I thought he had all phases of the game. Made big plays for his teammates.” Beal led the way with 25 points on Monday — the seventh time in the last 11 games that he scored at least 25.
ABOUT THE HAWKS (8-25): One player who didn’t need three days off between games was Ersan Ilyasova, who scored 22 points in a loss at Oklahoma City on Friday and followed it up with 21 points in the 112-107 triumph over Dallas on Saturday. The Turkish forward shot a combined 14-of-19 from the floor in the two games — 6-of-9 from 3-point range — after averaging 10.7 points on 35.5 percent shooting over the previous three contests. Atlanta is enjoying a similar surge from rookie forward John Collins, who is averaging 15.7 points on 79.2 percent shooting over the last three contests.
1. Wizards SF Otto Porter Jr. is 7-of-11 from 3-point range over the last two contests.
2. Hawks C Miles Plumlee is 11-of-16 from the floor in the last four games.
3. Washington, which knocked Atlanta out of the playoffs in the first round last spring, took the first meeting of 2017-18, 113-94 at home on Nov. 11.
PREDICTION: Wizards 116, Hawks 103