It was a battle of two of the hottest teams in the NBA.
And the Wizards smoked the Hawks.
The Wizards led by as many as 30 points on their way to an easy wire-to-wire 112-86 victory over the Hawks Friday night at Philips Arena.
The Wizards have won 10 of the past 12 games. They moved a half-game behind the Hawks for first in the Southeast Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks lost for the fourth time in the past 16 games. They are 5-4 since a seven-game win streak.
“With the standings, they are right there behind us,” Paul Millsap said before the game. “This will help us. This will help them also. It’s an important game.”
The Hawks (27-20) were led by Kent Bazemore with 15 points. Dwight Howard had a double-double of 12 points and 13 rebounds. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 12 points and Mike Scott had 11 points.
The Wizards (26-20) placed all five starters in double figures. They were led by Otto Porter Jr. with a game-high 21 points. John Wall added 19 points and Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat all had 15 points.
The Wizards quickly led by as many as 14 points in the first quarter. They led 24-10 as they started 9 of 14 from the field, including four 3-pointers. The Hawks were just 3 of 12 to start. The Wizards would lead by 15 points before the end of the opening period.
It got worse.
The Wizards led by as many as 25 points in the second quarter. They took a 67-45 lead into intermission only after a Bazemore three-point play. The lead would be 30 in the third quarter.
The Hawks were aware of a healthy John Wall, who was still slowed after offseason knee surgeries in the split two meetings between the teams earlier in the season.
“John Wall is playing great,” Dennis Schroder said before the game. “He is being aggressive. The first two games he was kind of out of shape. He’s playing great right now.”
Not even an appearance by a number of Super Bowl-bound Falcons could resurrect the Hawks from the ashes. The Falcons were loudly cheered and given a standing ovation when introduced at halftime.