Hawks beat Wizards to end road losing streak

WASHINGTON (AP) Jamal Crawford knows how to deliver an encore performance.

One night after leading a victorious

Atlanta squad in scoring and in the process connecting on a four-point

play, the Hawks’ sixth man repeated his heroics across the board

against the Washington Wizards.

Crawford scored 23 of his game-high

28 points in the second half, made his NBA- record 28th four-point play

and started the decisive 11-0 run in the fourth quarter in Atlanta’s

105-95 victory over Washington on Saturday night.

“That’s my job, to come off (the

bench) and figure out how to spark (the team), whether its myself

scoring or setting up other guys scoring,” said Crawford, who led the

Hawks the previous night against Toronto with 25 points. “I just try to

play the right way and be aggressive when need be.”

Joe Johnson scored 20 points to help

the Hawks remain in third place in the Eastern Conference. The win also

snapped their six-game road losing streak and finished off their season

sweep over the Wizards.

“I thought in the fourth quarter is

when you got to have it and we stepped up,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson

said. “Our defense really picked up. We were able to score the ball a

little bit.”

Neither team led by more than six

points through three quarters and the Hawks trailed 76-71 with 1:34

remaining in the third quarter.

But Crawford scored the Hawks next 11

points, including a jumper with 3.2 seconds remaining the quarter that

tied it at 78 and he finished off his personal run with a 3-pointer

early in the fourth quarter.

After the Wizards tied it again at

83, Crawford made another 3-pointer, this one starting a decisive 11-0

run to put the Hawks up 94-83 with 5:56 remaining. He led the Hawks in

scoring for the 27th time this season.

“He’s been huge for us all year,”

said Al Horford, who finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. “He’s

the sixth man of the year. I don’t think there is any question about

that.”

Crawford’s finishing touch was

getting fouled on his fifth made 3-pointer of the night. The subsequent

free throw helped him add to his league record four-point play total

and gave the Hawks a 103-90 lead with 2:42 remaining.

“It has to be concentration. I don’t

think he practices them, but it’s pretty impressive,” Horford said

about Crawford’s ability for making shots from beyond the arc despite

contact. “Usually the ball won’t even make it to the rim, but he

manages to make the shot.”

Crawford averaged 23.7 points in four games against the Wizards this season.

“I try to take advantage of what the

defense does,” Crawford said. “Usually they panic a little bit and I

shoot it. I’m already in shooting motion when they try to react. They

are fouling, but I already have the shot off.”

Andray Blatche finished with 24

points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Nick Young had 23 for the

Wizards, who have been swept by the Hawks in consecutive seasons and

have lost nine straight overall against the Southeast Division rival.

The Hawks, who remain a game ahead

of Boston, had their hands full with a resurgent Wizards squad that had

won four of six after a 16-game losing streak.

Young connected on all three of his

3-point shots, hit eight of his first nine field-goal attempts and

scored 19 points, but the Hawks led 52-50 at the end of a competitive

first half. With both sides shooting over 50 percent from the floor,

there were 13 lead changes, four ties and neither team led by more than

six points. Every Atlanta starter made at least half of their attempts

and the Wizards shot 72.2 percent (13 for 18) in the first quarter

before a sellout crowd of 20,173.

The fourth quarter was another story

as the Wizards made only six of 19 shots (31 percent) and committed

four of their 17 turnovers.

“Teams that make the playoffs have

guys that make plays in the fourth quarters,” Wizards coach Flip

Saunders said. “Teams that aren’t playoff-type teams have guys that are

inconsistent in making those plays. That’s the difference between being

good and not-so good.”

Mike Bibby, Josh Smith and Maurice Evans all scored 10 points for the Hawks, who made 16 of 18 from the free throw line.

Mike Miller scored 16 points, and Shaun Livingston added 15 points for the Wizards.

NOTES: The Wizards announced that

they have signed guard Cedric Jackson for the reminder of the season.

Jackson originally signed March 31 and has averaged 1.3 points in three

games for the Wizards. … The Hawks’ final two games of the season are

against fellow playoff squads. Monday they play at Milwaukee and then

return home for the season finale against Cleveland on Wednesday.

Updated April 10, 2010