The Hawks avoided a season-long two-game losing streak with a 105-96 win over the Wizards Wednesday night. Only twice this season have the Hawks lost two straight. After having a franchise-record 19-game win streak snapped, the Hawks controlled much of the game against the Wizards in winning the Southeast Division contest.
Here are my five observations from the game:
1. Jeff Teague took on the challenge of John Wall in a battle of All-Star point guards. Teague scored a game-high 26 points, on 9 of 13 shooting, with eight assists. Wall finished with 24 points, 14 of which came in the third-quarter when the Wizards made a big run to get back in the game. Teague leads the Hawks in 21 20-plus point games this season.
2. Teague has owned the Wizards this season. The Hawks are 3-0 and Teague is averaging 21.7 points, 7.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 3.0 steals.
3. The Hawks success this season has been full of amazing stats. Here is another. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the Hawks are the fifth team to win at least 34 of 37 games in the past 20 years.
4. There was a nice home crowd, especially for a Wednesday night, at Philips Arena. However, any notion that the game was a sellout is far off. The Hawks announced a sellout crowd of 18,047. Somebody apparently didn’t count the empty seats in the upper deck sections. The marketing ploy of announcing sellouts in 11 of the past 13 games is dishonest and unnecessary. There have all been good crowds, many legitimate sellouts, as the city has embraced this remarkable Hawks’ run. That’s good news that doesn’t need to be exaggerated.
5. I don’t see the Wizards, not at this point, being the challenge to the Hawks that many want to make them out to be. The Hawks opened up a 10-game lead in the Southeast Division and have won all three games this season. The Wizards are talented. Bradley Beal and Wall are a formidable backcourt. Nene is strong inside. Their bench is weak. They combined to score 14 points Wednesday and four of those came in the final 44 seconds with the outcome long decided.