No John Wall, no problem — so far, anyway.
The Washington Wizards began 2019 without its All-Star point guard, but the team still notched its second straight win Wednesday with a 114-98 victory over the Atlanta Hawks at Capital One Arena in D.C.
Atlanta (11-26), which trailed by 14 points early in the second half, fought back to tie the game at 94 midway through the fourth quarter. But the Wizards (15-23) finished the game on a 20-4 run, with Bradley Beal scoring 11 of his team-high 24 points in the final frame.
Beal and the other four Wizards starters scored in double figures, including a 16-point, 15-rebound effort by center Thomas Bryant.
“He’s really improving as the season has gone on,” head coach Scott Brooks said of Bryant, whose rebounding total was a career-high. “He’s playing well. We need a good T.B. on the road.”
Tomas Satoransky, making his second start at point guard since Wall announced Dec. 29 he would have season-ending heel surgery, flirted with a triple-double, recording 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
“He’s about winning,” Brooks said. “He’ll be the first to tell you he only focuses on helping the team win.”
The injury-marred Wizards were also without forward Markieff Morris, who was scheduled Wednesday to see a specialist in Dallas for his injured neck. Center Dwight Howard remains on injured reserve after gluteal muscle surgery in late November.
Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr., returning to the lineup after missing 10 games with a right knee injury, scored all nine of his points in the second half in 13 minutes off the bench.
Beal now becomes the team’s leader, but stressed it’s all about the team. He also wanted to make sure people know Satoransky isn’t merely a “glue guy.”
“He’s able to fill up the stat sheet,” Beal said. “He’s not just limited to one or two things. He’s capable of doing everything.”
University of Maryland product Alex Len led the Hawks off the bench with a season-high 24 points and 11 rebounds. John Collins pitched in 21 points and eight rebounds, but scored just one point after Wizards forward Jeff Green drew a fourth foul on Collins at the 7:37 mark of the third quarter.
Atlanta committed four of its 14 turnovers in the fourth quarter, which head coach Lloyd Pierce said contributed to the loss.
“I think anytime you turn the basketball over late in the game, you can expect to be punished on the other side,” he said. “We’ve been trying to pay a lot of attention to valuing ever possession and valuing [the] basketball, specifically in the fourth quarter.”
Washington, which is just 4-16 away from Capital One Arena this season, will play its next three games on the road, starting Friday against the Miami Heat (18-18).
Wizards backup point guard Chasson Randle, who started the season with the Wizards’ G League affiliate, Capital City Go-Go, will be among the players helping to fill the void in Wall’s absence.
“You just have to take it one game at a time,” said Randle, who scored seven points and three steals in 17 minutes Wednesday. “The focus that we have at home, we have to carry that on the road. This is a great opportunity for us. We have to approach it as such. Your thought process and the vibes and the energy – as long as that’s up … it that will be great.”