Wizards December 18Posted on January 14, 2013 by DJ-WizardsRadio
By Dave Johnson
Two teams bracing themselves for the wrath of the NBA schedule makers collide Tuesday night at Verizon Center. The Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks are both set to play four games in five nights and to add to the motivation of their match-up are both coming off their worst losses of the season.
On Saturday night in Miami, the Wizards fell flat in a 102-72 loss to the Heat. The Wizards were ending last week’s stretch of four games in five nights. Nene has been consistently playing between 20 and 25 minutes a game, but did not play because of left foot soreness. It would have been his third set of back-to-back games in nine days.
The Wizards 2012/2013 campaign has been marked by consistently competitive games. The Wizards record is 3-18, but that does not tell the story. An amazing 10 of the Wizards 18 losses have been by six points or less. There have been two overtime losses and one loss in double-overtime
The Hawks are an impressive 14-7 and are in second place in the Southeast Division. In Saturday at home the Hawks were listless in a 115-93 loss to the Golden State Warriors. The Hawks shot only 36 percent from the field and the usually reliable Josh Smith only had three points on1 of 12 shooting from the field.
The Warriors deserve credit after finishing their east coast road trip, which included a four-point win over the Wizards, with a 6-1 record. It was the Warriors first winning record on a road trip of six or more games since they went 4-3 on a road trip back in the 1970-71 season.
On Friday we learned that John Wall would be able to ramp up his activity in his recovery from a stress injury to his left knee.
Here is today’s Wizards Report on Wall and offense:
The Hawks have made changes with Danny Ferry now in charge as general manager. Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams have moved on to other teams, but a crops group of Josh Smith, Al Horford and Zaza Pachulia remain.
The Hawks are active on defense. They are second in the NBA in opponent turnovers per game (17) and third in steals per game (9.10). In addition the Hawks are seventh in opponent points per game (94.14) and 11th in opponent field-goal percentage (.440).
The Hawks are ranked 28th in the NBA in free throw shooting at just70 percent.
Wizards v Hawks:
The Wizards gave themselves chance to win the two previous meetings in Atlanta. The two losses by the Wizards to the Hawks have been by a combined 10 points including a one-point defeat in overtime.
The 101-100 loss in overtime was especially painful for the Wizards. Martell Webster put back of a Kevin Seraphin miss appeared to be the game-winner. Upon further review Webster just missed getting it off his finger tips before time expired.
The last time:
Wizards lost to the Hawks 104-95.
Josh Smith had 15 rebounds to go with his game-high 23 rebounds. Al Horford grabbed 14 rebounds and added 14 points, while Zaza Pachulia had nine boards including five on the offensive glass. In total the Hawks had a 47-32 rebounding advantage on the Wizards including 15 offensive rebounds which provided a 22-10 edge in second-chance points.
The Hawks outscored the Wizards 48-32 in the paint and 16-10 in fast break points. All five Hawks starters scored at least 14 points for the first time this season and the group recorded a season-high 86 points. With 23 assists, Atlanta dished-out at least 20 assists for the 15th time in 16 games.
Wizards head coach Randy Wittman:
“We stopped trusting each other again. We got down early, and again it was because of too much dribbling and trusting where we’re going. Plus (the Hawks) guards just totally dominated us tonight. (The Hawks) also dominated us on the boards. Had we done a better job in the second and third quarter it might have been a different outcome. I was actually more concerned with what we were doing at the other end tonight in terms of our defense. I think our defense is what cost us the game tonight. It was one of our poorer performances on defense this season.”
Defensive drop off:
The Wizards have been able to point to defense as a strong point this season, but that was not the case in the last game against the Hawks. The Wizards especially struggled with defending dribble penetration as Hawks’ guards Jeff Teague and Devin Harris routinely weaved their way into the paint.
Basketball is still about making shots. On the heels of their worst game of the year Saturday in Miami, the Washington Wizards returned to competitive form and pushed the Atlanta Hawks to overtime before losing 100-95 Tuesday at Verizon Center.