3 Questions for Washington Wizards vs. Atlanta Hawks

Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images)
Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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The Washington Wizards look to get second win in as many weeks over the Atlanta Hawks to start a new winning streak

The Washington Wizards (12-18) know they have the talent to compete with some of the league’s best; it has to show it can take care of business against lesser opponents when it travels to State Farm Arena to play the Atlanta Hawks (6-23) on Tuesday.

The Wizards are coming off a dominant performance against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, controlling the entire game thanks to John Wall (40 points, 6 rebounds, 14 assists) on the way to winning 128-110. This was Washington’s first win against an above-.500 opponent since November 28 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The win also snapped a four-game losing streak, including losses to some of the Eastern Conference’s best (Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics) and worst (Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets). The Wizards’ last win before that streak started? The Hawks in Atlanta.

Washington will look for a repeat performance of that December 5 match-up where they prevailed 131-117, led by Bradley Beal‘s 36 points. But the Wizards lineup will look quite different from a couple weeks ago. For starters, Wall missed the last game for the birth of his child. Secondly, Otto Porter played in that game and totaled 20 points and 11 rebounds; he has sat out the last three games due to injury and it’s unclear whether he’ll play on Tuesday.

Also, Wall’s replacement in the lineup, Austin Rivers (9 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists), and the top scorer off the bench, Kelly Oubre Jr. (19 points), are no longer on the team following this weekend’s trade with the Phoenix Suns; instead, Trevor Ariza is expected to make his debut for his new stint with the team in place of them. Lastly, the Wizards will have Sam Dekker at their disposal, who had 20 points against the Lakers off the bench on Sunday, and was acquired two days after the last time to the two teams squared off.

Wins against the Lakers are a boost of confidence, but they need to rack up wins against some of these lower-tier teams too if they want to improve on their 11th-place standing in the East and get into the playoffs. Here’s three questions for Tuesday’s showdown in Atlanta.