Surely, everybody can't have a so-so night. At some point, in an NBA game, somebody has to develop that hot hand that leads one team or the other toward victory, right?
It wasn't until the start of the fourth quarter of Tuesday night's matchup between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards that some difference-makers finally made a difference. Hawks reserves Mike Scott and Shelvin Mack proved up to the task, scoring 16 straight Atlanta points to spur a 106-102 win.
"We kind of got into a rhythm," Mack said. "I've been kind of struggling all season, off and on, but we were able to make some plays."
Scott and Mack sparked a 22-5 run that built a 14-point lead before the Wizards hit a spate of 3-pointers to make the final score close. Scott finished with 17 points in 22 minutes, and Mack had 13 in 19 for the Hawks, who have won six of eight.
"We have a lot of confidence in those two guys," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "They believe in each other and believe in what they're doing on both ends of the court. At times they can both get going."
Jeff Teague added 28 points, and Paul Millsap had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Atlanta.
Until Scott and Mack got going, neither team could sustain much of a run because so many key players were having tough nights. Paul Pierce shot 6 for 14, Bradley Beal 4 for 14 and Kris Humphries 2 of 7 for the Wizards. DeMarre Carroll went 3 for 10, and Kyle Korver was 0 of 4 for the Hawks.
Beal also committed five turnovers, a sizeable chunk of the Wizards' season-high 20 giveaways.
"It was a bad game overall. I've got amnesia. I don't remember anything from the game, so we can move on if you guys want to," said Beal, cracking a smile as he spoke to reporters. "I'm so upset at myself. I'm never seen myself turn the ball over that many times. I think everybody wants to just try to force it there and get it there and try to make a play, and sometimes it just doesn't fall in our favor, and it's a domino effect."
John Wall had 21 points and 13 assists but also seven turnovers, and Marcin Gortat had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards. Washington played without power forward Nene, who missed his first game due to injury this season with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
"That was as bad as we could play offensively, for whatever reason," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "Trying to do too much. Over-dribbling, ball-sticking, predetermining — no matter what the defense was going to do, and we just get in trouble like that."
A crowd protesting the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, had gathered on the west side of the Verizon Center by the time the game ended. At the final whistle, the Wizards public address announcer told fans that the exits on that side of the arena had been closed and fans would have to leave through other exits. In Washington's locker room, players discussed the best way to drive home from the arena to avoid streets that were shut down.
Hawks: Mack's 13 points were a season high. ... The Hawks improved to 2-4 on the road.
Wizards: With Nene out, Humphries got his first start of the season. ... F Otto Porter returned after missing one game with a sore left hamstring. ... Pierce passed Jerry West for 17th place on the NBA's career scoring list.
Hawks: Host Toronto on Wednesday.
Wizards: At Cleveland on Wednesday.
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