Beal, Wizards spoil Snyder’s Hawks debut with 119-116 win
ATLANTA (AP) — The Washington Wizards spoiled Quin Snyder’s Atlanta coaching debut, getting 37 points from Bradley Beal and 28 from Kyle Kuzma in a 119-116 victory over the Hawks on Tuesday night.
Beal hit a pull-up jumper with 35.3 seconds left that gave the short-handed Wizards a 117-113 lead after they trailed nearly the entire second half.
Trae Young, who paced Atlanta with 31 points, responded with a contested 3-pointer that pulled the Hawks within one with 30.6 remaining.
But Beal went to work again. With the shot clock running down, he drove on Dejounte Murray, decking left before cutting right to the bank in his final points of the night.
It was just enough. Young had a couple of chances to send the game to overtime, but both 3-pointers rimmed out before the horn sounded.
Luring Snyder back to the bench for his first time in 10 months, the Hawks are hoping he provides a spark for an underachieving team that seems headed for a second straight appearance in the play-in tournament.
He got a sampling of the challenge he faces.
With injured Kristaps Porzingis watching from the bench, the Wizards knocked off the Hawks with essentially a two-man team at the offensive end.
Daniel Gafford, with 13 points, was the only other Washington player in double figures.
Snyder spent eight seasons as Utah’s coach before resigning last June after the Jazz were eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs.
The 56-year-old Snyder says he left coaching to spend more time with his family, but the chance to lead the talented but enigmatic Hawks lured him back to the sideline sooner than expected.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” Snyder said before the game. “I’m grateful for that. I’m going to enjoy it.”
Atlanta dumped Nate McMillan after limping into the All-Star break with a 29-30 record — far below what was expected from a team that reached the Eastern Conference final just two seasons ago.
Joe Prunty guided the Hawks to a pair of victories as interim coach before Snyder reached an agreement on a five-year deal. Prunty remains with the team as Snyder’s top assistant.
Atlanta was eighth in the East coming into the night, 3 1/2 games behind Brooklyn for a top-six finish that would avoid the play-in tournament.
Washington was a half-game ahead of the Bulls for the final play-in berth.
Wizards: Washington snapped a two-game losing streak. ... Porzingis (sore left knee) and Monte Morris (lower back soreness) were both out for the second game in a row. Gafford and Kuzma both had huge blocks down the stretch that helped the Wizards overtake the Hawks.
Hawks: Young committed a silly blunder at the end of the first half, needlessly fouling Delon Wright as he threw up a desperation heave from half-court just ahead of the buzzer. After reviewing the replay, the officials ruled the foul occurred 0.9 seconds ahead of the buzzer. Wright knocked down all three free throws to cut Atlanta’s lead to 56-52 at the break. Atlanta briefly had a 10-point lead midway through the third quarter — the largest margin for either team. Seven Hawks scored in double figures, including Clint Capela with 13 points to go along with 15 rebounds.
Wizards: Return to D.C. for the start of a three-game homestand against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night. Those same teams will meet again Saturday.
Hawks: Wrap up a five-game homestand wrapped around the All-Star break when they host the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. Atlanta hasn’t played a road game since Feb. 13.
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