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Bench efficiency contributes to Wizards' road turnaround

Bench efficiency contributes to Wizards' road turnaround

The road issues have been solved, at least for now, with the Wizards trampling the Atlanta Hawks by 26 points and on their way to New Orleans for a game Sunday.

They cleaned up a lot of the mess they created for themselves on Oct. 27, the regular-season opener for both teams, when Dennis Schroder lived inside the paint and Dwight Howard dominated rebounding. 

Friday, Schroder was 3-for-11 for nine points with four turnovers. Howard had 12 points and 13 rebounds, but most of his scoring came after halftime when the outcome was clear. It marked the Wizards' third win in their last four away games.

"We did a great job of keeping their guys out the paint," Wizards point guard John Wall said. "Everybody was into the ball. ... Challenged every shot, just about."

The Hawks were limited to 30 points in the lane (14 fewer than Oct. 27) and were outrebounded 52-41 (they won this category 52-40 on Oct. 27)

Then everyone not named Wall and Bradley Beal made their shots. Marcin Gortat was 7-for-8, Otto Porter 7-for-11, Tomas Satoransky 4-for-5 and Trey Burke 4-for-7.

"A lot of teams are going to double-team me and Brad or trap us in pick-and-roll situations," Wall said. "We just try to make the right plays."

Coach Scott Brooks has been pleased that his preaching of spacing since training camp has gotten through. 

"Everybody touched the ball," he said. "Everybody was getting good looks."

Reserves tend to play better at home than away, but in the last four road games: Burke is 11-for-17 shooting with 10 assists; Satoransky is 5-for-7; Smith is 15-for-23 with 16 rebounds; and Kelly Oubre was 12-for-20 before he went 2-for-11 Friday, but he has 10 rebounds and six steals.

RELATED: Safe to say the Wizards have turned the corner

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Free-throw discrepancy irks Wizards coach Scott Brooks going into Game 4

Free-throw discrepancy irks Wizards coach Scott Brooks going into Game 4

ATLANTA -- During a regular season full of complaints about the lack of foul calls, John Wall is getting his share of them in the first three games of the Wizards' series with the Atlanta Hawks. 

Unfortunately for them, however, hardly anyone else is getting to the line heading into Game 4 tonight at Phillips Arena. 

Coach Scott Brooks addressed it after Monday morning shootaround. In fact, he went out of his way after being asked about Bradley Beal's shooting woes to segue into the lack of opportunities compared with the Hawks' Paul Millsap who has gone from 5.9 regular-season average for attempts per game to almost double that. 

“We’d like to get to the free-throw line. We haven’t been there enough," Brooks said. "Brad is one of our guys who can get there. We have to do  a better job of getting there. Millsap has had (35) free throws. One guy has a lot more than our three guys combined."

Solely based on numbers, Brooks has a point. Millsap is 28 of 35 while John Wall is 26 of 31 on free throws which basically cancels out each other. 

Among the rest of the starters, Beal is just 5-for-9 in three games, Otto Porter 3-for-3, Markieff Morris 4-for-5 and Marcin Gortat has zero attempts.

Dennis Schroder alone has attempted more foul shots than the four at 16-for-20. Tim Hardaway is 11-for-14. Dwight Howard and Taurean Prince are a combined 6-for-9.

Morris held court with the Wizards' bigs about how to defend Millsap. When he gets the ball on the left side of the floor, he sweeps through with the ball and jumps backwards to draw whistles to sell the contact.

The emphasis is on keeping the hands up and not hidden so game officials will see there was no contact on the shot. Jason Smith fouled out in just eight minutes off the bench for Washington, getting most of the whistles defending Millsap.

"The facts are the facts. Our three, four and five have only taken eight free throws in the entire series," Brooks said of Porter, Morris and Gortat. "Their one guy has taken (35). That's what it is. I'm not staying that we're not fouling, because we are. I'm not saying that they're not fouling."

The Hawks are playing soft on coverages and giving the Wizards' shooters mostly open looks as they load the paint to prevent easy finishes at the rim from Wall and Beal. Naturally, they're going to be fewer attempts for the team that shoots more jump shots but that the starting frontcourt has attempted just eight -- after a foul-plagued Game 2 that was litered with 55 called infractions -- still is eye-catching.

MORE WIZARDS: Will John Wall work out with Dennis Schroder this summer?

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John Wall isn't thinking twice about working out with Dennis Schroder this offseason

John Wall isn't thinking twice about working out with Dennis Schroder this offseason

ATLANTA – Among the many curious things that Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder says, his comments that he asked opposing point guard John Wall to work out with him during the offseason didn’t seem to make much sense.

Why would that be a conversation during a first-round playoff series between the Wizards and Hawks? And did that even happen? Wall seemed surprised by the question but non-commital about whether or not Schroder approached him about it.

“I’ve never heard of that going on in the middle of a series,” Wall said Monday after shootaround for Game 4 later tonight at Phillips Arena. “I’m not talking about it right now. I’m locked into a series competing with a guy that’s playing well for his team, competing for his team. That’s probably a conversation I’ll have later on, but I’m locked into Wizards versus Hawks.”

Aside from that, Wall tends to be a loner during the summer when he’s getting ready. He was supposed to work out with Damian Lillard a few seasons ago, but even that didn’t come to fruition. Teammate Brandon Jennings sensed that about Wall.

“I really don’t work out with anybody, to be honest,” Wall said. “Brandon said the same thing, ‘You’re the type of guy that don’t like to work out with people.’ I just always worked out by myself a lot.”

MORE WIZARDS: Brandon Jennings explains his 'John with the Shades' MVP case for Wall