NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 18th (All times Eastern)
Atlanta Hawks (14-7) at Washington Wizards (3-18), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Hawks have a good shot at returning to the win column when they visit the Southeast Division-rival Washington Wizards Tuesday night at the Verizon Center.
The Hawks, who had a two-game winning streak stopped in Saturday's loss to Golden State, have already beaten the Wizards twice this season -- both at home -- and are unbeaten in the previous five meetings. Atlanta is 17-1 in the last 18 matchups between the teams and has prevailed in eight of the past nine encounters in the nation's capital.
The two rivals will meet again January 12th in Washington.
Atlanta had won two straight and five of six games until suffering a recent 115-93 setback to the Warriors. Al Horford chipped in a team-high 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Louis Williams added 16 points and Ivan Johnson netted 15 points in the setback.
"Going into this game, we felt it was vital to bring energy tonight," Hawks coach Larry Drew said. "For some reason, we just didn't have our legs early. We didn't have the energy I was hoping we would have."
After marching out to a 26-26 tie after one quarter, the Hawks were outscored by a 36-23 margin in the second quarter. They shot just 36.9 percent for the game and buried only 5-of-26 3-pointers. Golden State had a 54-45 edge in rebounds as well.
Horford is the only Eastern Conference player to average better than 16.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game this season.
Atlanta is tied with Chicago for the best road record in the East this season at 6-3 and is tied for fourth overall in the NBA.
Washington is only 3-18 on the season and has lost three straight and five of its last six games.
The Wizards were trounced 102-72 the last time out Saturday against the Miami Heat on the road as Bradley Beal and Cartier Martin scored 19 and 18 points, respectively, and Emeka Okafor ended with eight points and 10 rebounds. The Wizards trailed 26-14 after the first quarter and were later outscored by a 29-10 margin in the third.
"Credit to Miami. They came out and put pressure on us and we didn't handle their pressure," Wizards head coach Randy Wittman stated. "I don't know what we were doing from an offensive standpoint."
Beal leads all Eastern Conference rookies in scoring (14.7 ppg) and assists (3.3 apg) in seven games this month.
Martin is averaging 19.5 points in his last two games, while Jordan Crawford, who posted just five points against the Heat, is averaging 16.7 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds in seven December games. Crawford leads the Wizards in scoring with a career-high 14.3 ppg.
12/18 10:30:57 ET