Mavericks forward P.J. Washington conquers Achilles heel in win over Hawks

Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks
Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks / Sam Hodde/GettyImages

Heading into Thursday night's game against the Atlanta Hawks, the Dallas Mavericks were coming off a loss to the Golden State Warriors on the road and needed a win.

It's too late in the season to be dropping games at home, especially to inferior opponents, and the Mavs took care of business against Atlanta and won 109-95.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving were great in this game as they combined for 51 points, but the story of the night was P.J. Washington destroying one of his biggest weaknesses.

P.J. Washington conquered his weakness in win over Hawks

When the Mavs traded for Washington in February, every fan couldn't wait to see him suit up. Grant Williams quickly wore out his welcome, and the Mavs needed a new identity.

The trades for Daniel Gafford and Washington brought that new identity, and they morphed the Mavs into NBA Finals contenders. Washington is taking his play to the next level at the perfect time. Against the Hawks, Washington finished with 19 points, eight rebounds, and three assists along with a steal and block while shooting a whopping 62.5 percent from downtown on eight attempts.

Washington has had his fair share of struggles as a shooter since coming to Dallas, but his hot shooting night against the Hawks was a massive step in the right direction for him. He drilled his first two attempts from downtown, one from each corner, and this set the tone for the rest of the night.

Doncic in particular has always shown tons of confidence in Washington as a shooter, even through his slump, and he always seems to be looking for Washington on the perimeter. While all eyes will be on Washington's game against the Hawks when it comes to his improvement, it also needs to be noted that his shooting has steadily been improving as of late.

Washington is shooting 44.2 percent from downtown over the last six games, and that is a huge improvement from the 13.8 percent he shot in the previous six games.

Washington will always be known for his defense, but the Mavs could have one of the best young 3-and-D forwards in the NBA if his shooting continues to improve. This game against Atlanta was a great look into how effective Washington can be at his best, and the Mavs can only hope that this momentum carries into the playoffs.

For all the latest on Luka Doncic, P.J. Washington, and the Dallas Mavericks this season, stay tuned