Wizards-Hawks Preview

After suffering for almost a month without a win, the Washington

Wizards have enjoyed some success lately. Based on their most

recent visit to Atlanta, they now might have a good chance to end

another pair of droughts.

The Wizards look for the first victory away from home and try to

avoid a 10th straight road defeat to the Hawks on Friday night.

Washington (2-13) opened with a franchise-record 12 consecutive

losses but has since won two of three – both at home.

The most recent victory was particularly surprising, beating

Miami 105-101 on Tuesday to end the defending champion’s six-game

win streak. Jordan Crawford scored 22 points and Kevin Seraphin

added 16 with 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who matched a season

high by shooting 48.1 percent and never trailed in the final three

quarters.

“It’s a big momentum win for us, obviously,” point guard Shaun

Livingston said. “We’ve been struggling to put together four

quarters.”

Though the Wizards still own the NBA’s worst record, average a

league-low 90.4 points and are not sure when injured star John Wall

(knee) will make his season debut, their recent progress has been a

long time coming as far as the team is concerned.

“It basically just shows how good of a team we are, how good we

can be. That’s the main thing,” said Crawford, averaging 19.3

points in four games since being moved back into a reserve

role.

The next step for Washington is to find success on the road,

where at 0-7 it joins Sacramento as the NBA’s only winless teams

away from home. However, four of those losses have been by six

points or fewer and two went to overtime, including a 101-100

defeat in Atlanta on Nov. 21.

The Hawks took the lead with 1.9 seconds left in overtime on

Kyle Korver’s long 3-pointer, but the Wizards thought they earned

their first win when Martell Webster made a layup as the buzzer

sounded. One official initially ruled the basket was good, but the

crew conferred and ruled it was late, a call that was later

confirmed by video review.

Washington lost its previous eight visits to Atlanta by an

average of 13.0 points. The Wizards last won there Jan. 11, 2008,

going 1-16 overall against the Hawks since that victory.

Seraphin had a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds in last

month’s matchup and enters Friday having posted three straight

double-doubles.

Teammate Trevor Ariza had his only double-double of the season

in that game with 12 points and 15 boards off the bench, but he is

likely to miss this one with a calf injury.

Korver could return for Atlanta (10-5), which has won seven of

eight, after missing one contest due to back spasms and Wednesday’s

home game versus Denver with his wife about to give birth.

The Hawks still beat the Nuggets 108-104 as Al Horford had 25

points with 12 rebounds and Josh Smith added 16 and 13.

While Atlanta allowed 100 points in consecutive games for the

first time this season, it made some key stops down the stretch to

bounce back from a 113-111 home loss to Cleveland last Friday.

“Hopefully we can just build from this game,” coach Larry Drew

said. “I’m just happy that we pushed through it. The difference was

we kept pushing. We didn’t break. We didn’t bend.”

Smith, who turned 27 on Wednesday, has averaged 22.0 points and

11.3 rebounds in his last six games versus Washington.