Wiz drop opener to the Hawks
Beal, Wall struggle while Howard and Millsap dominate
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.
Wizards guard John Wall passes from the floor after falling as Hawks guard Kyle Korver defends in the first half of Thursday’s game.