Wiz drop opener to the Hawks

Beal, Wall strug­gle while Howard and Mill­sap dom­i­nate

The Star Democrat - - SPORTS -

AT­LANTA (AP) — Dwight Howard dom­i­nated the boards in his At­lanta de­but, Paul Mill­sap scored 28 points and Tim Har­d­away Jr. ig­nited the new-look Hawks to a 114-99 vic­tory over the Wash­ing­ton Wizards in their sea­son opener Thurs­day night.

Howard grabbed 19 re­bounds to go along with 11 points, just what the Hawks ex­pected from their new cen­ter, and it cer­tainly wasn’t un­usual for three­time All-Star Mill­sap to lead the way in scor­ing.

But Har­d­away’s per­for­mance was to­tally un­ex­pected given the way he strug­gled in his first sea­son with the Hawks, when he was largely con­fined to the bench and even forced to spend time in the D-League.

He scored 21 points, match­ing his high in an At­lanta uni­form, and broke open a close game with back-to-back 3-point­ers in the fourth. The Hawks, who led only 81-80 head­ing to the fi­nal pe­riod, outscored the Wizards 33-19 over the fi­nal 12 min­utes.

Marki­eff Mor­ris led Wash­ing­ton with 22 points, but it was a tough night for the Wizards’ dy­namic

back­court duo. John Wall fin­ished with only 12 points on 3-of-15 shoot­ing, while Bradley Beal was held to 13.

Har­d­away, on the other hand, scored 12 points in the fi­nal pe­riod, break­ing open a game that was close through the first three quar­ters. TIP INS Wizards: Marcin Gor­tat had 11 re­bounds but didn’t have much help. Wash­ing­ton was out­re­bounded 52-40. ... Otto Porter was the only other Wash­ing­ton player in dou­ble fig­ures with 10 points. ... The Wizards locked arms dur­ing the na­tional an­them.

Hawks: Howard posted the most re­bounds for any­one in their At­lanta de­but, break­ing the mark of 18 that Sha­reef Ab­dur-Rahim set at Hous­ton on Oct. 30, 2001. ... Den­nis Schroder, tak­ing over as the start­ing point guard af­ter the trade of Jeff Teague, had 14 points but only two as­sists. UP NEXT Wizards: Play at Mem­phis on Sun­day, fac­ing a Griz­zlies team that opened the sea­son with a 102-98 vic­tory over Min­nesota.

Hawks: Travel to Philadel­phia on Satur­day to take on the 76ers, who went 1072 last sea­son.

AP PHOTO

Wizards guard John Wall passes from the floor af­ter fall­ing as Hawks guard Kyle Korver de­fends in the first half of Thurs­day’s game.

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