NBA Basketball

Beal, Wall lead Wizards to 104-100 win over Hawks

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

By IAN QUILLEN

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) First, the Washington Wizards hung around their game against the Atlanta Hawks with their defense.

Then Bradley Beal said, they found their "swag" again.

Beal scored 28 points and John Wall added all 22 of his in the second half to help the Wizards to a 104-100 victory over the Hawks on Wednesday night.

Wall also had 10 assists on a night he shot just 6 of 21 from the floor, including two assists to Beal during a late 14-2 run that helped Washington ensure victory.

After trailing by as many as 12 early, Beal said the comeback was as much about attitude as strategy.

"I think that's what we've been missing, missing our swag," Beal said. "Everything is just so tense. We just need to relax and have fun playing the game."

Ian Mahinmi had 10 rebounds off the bench as Washington used a 55-44 edge on the glass to help snap a two-game skid.

The Wizards also held an opponent to 100 points or fewer for the second time since the All-Star Break and overcame an ugly 40-point first half in which they shot 34 percent and committed 13 turnovers.

"Nasty," said Wall, who was 0 for 8 at halftime. "We knew we just had to keep getting stops, moving the ball. Eventually, we'd start making some shots and we did that."

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 29 points and Dennis Schroder had 18 in the Hawks' fifth consecutive defeat.

Dwight Howard added 14 points and 16 rebounds while frontcourt mate Paul Millsap missed his third consecutive game with a sore left knee.

Atlanta lost all six of its games this season when the four-time All-Star doesn't play. They remained a game ahead of sixth-place Indiana, which lost to Boston.

"I think learning to play without Paul is important for us," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I think there was some progress tonight. And until he comes back, we're going to have to make more progress."

After Schroder hit a pair of free throws to give the Hawks a 78-77 lead, the Wizards responded with their game-sealing 14-2 run.

Wall found Beal for a 3-pointer on the left wing and then for an alley-oop to push the lead to 86-78.

Wall's three-point play pushed it to nine before his thunderous dunk in transition off Markieff Morris' outlet feed made it 91-80 with 4:52 left.

Beal later gave Washington its largest lead 96-84 with another emphatic steal and slam.

"We were all over the place in the first half," Beal said. "We just got back to having fun and getting after it on defense, of course."

TIP-INS

Hawks: Budenholzer hasn't said if Millsap will return for Atlanta on Friday. "We'll kind of see how he's doing tomorrow morning," he said. ... G Kent Bazemore (right knee) missed his second game. ... G/F Mike Dunleavy (right ankle) played after a 13-game injury layoff.

Wizards: Held to 40 points at halftime for the second time in three games, tying their second-lowest scoring first half of the season. ... Committed just one of their 19 turnovers in the fourth quarter. ... Won the season series against Atlanta for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

GIVE IT A REST

After the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers sat their stars for national TV games on consecutive Saturdays, Wizards coach Scott Brooks said he felt most players shouldn't need planned days off if they're healthy.

"There's certain cases and certain examples and certain players that probably need it, but it's very rare in my opinion," Brooks said. "You're talking basketball. It's 32 minutes a night. This is not hard work. This is fun. To me, rest is a good night's sleep."

SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT?

Despite a fifth consecutive defeat, Hardaway said Wednesday's game was a significant improvement from Atlanta's previous two without Millsap, both double-digit losses.

"I think this is a learning curve ... for our young guys to get acclimated into the rotation," Hardaway said. "I think it's great that they get the opportunity. We've just got to take advantage of it."

UP NEXT

Hawks: Close a three-game road trip at Milwaukee on Friday.

Wizards: Host Brooklyn on Friday before playing eight of their last 10 on the road.

Updated March 23, 2017

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