The Wizards walked away from the Verizon Center tonight the winner of both games in the back to back home stand. The team held off a late surge from the Hawks in the closing seconds to secure a 101-97 victory. It was a back and forth affair in the first half, but the Wizards were able to win the third quarter and command the second half of the game. It wasn’t until under 1 minute to go that the Hawks caught momentum to make it just a two point game. Marcin Gortat, on the opposite end of a missed layup opportunity, had a huge block on Jeff Teague and Drew Gooden secured the victory with a pair of free throws.
Six different Wizards were in double figure scoring tonight. John Wall led the team with 25 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, and Marcin Gortat registered his 32nd double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Drew Gooden, who has been playing some excellent basketball for the Wizards off the bench, finished with 16 points and eight rebounds. Bradley Beal and Trevor Ariza added 14 and 13 points respectively, and Andre Miller was the last Wizard in double figures with 10.
Point guard Jeff Teague led the Hawks in scoring with 19 points, and Pero Antic registered a double-double scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 boards.
The Wizards brought their magic number to clinch a playoff spot down to just one with the victory. Either a Knicks win on Sunday night or a Wizards win over Charlotte on Monday will do the trick. - Brad Bobrow
24 hours later and we're back at Verizon Center for more Wizards action. After one of the more convincing wins of the season, a 91-78 wire-to-wire victory over the Pacers last night, the Wizards welcome another playoff team tonight as the Atlanta Hawks are in town. The Hawks are just 31-40, but currently sit in the eight spot in the Eastern Conference and are trying to hold of the New York Knicks with just 2.5 weeks left until the playoffs begin.
This Hawks team comes into DC banged up, as they'll be without a few of their key pieces. Al Horford is out for the season with a pectoral tear and tonight they'll be without two of their key wing guys, DeMarre Carroll and Kyle Korver, which means former Wizards Shelvin Mack and Cartier Martin will move into the Hawks' starting lineup.
They are also thin up front, with Gustavo Ayon injured and Pero Antic moving back into the starting lineup, but coming off an ankle sprain, which means the Wiz will look to attack this team from the inside out. Look for Marcin Gortat to follow up last night's 17p-12r game with another big effort tonight against the 31-year old rookie Antic.
The Hawks do still have a dynamic duo in Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap, two guys who are capable of doing multiple things well on the court. They will have to play big and have some of their role players step up as the undermanned Hawks look to snap their five game losing streak.
The Wizards look to win for the second time in as many nights and look to lower their magic number to one with a win tonight. The earliest the Wizards could clinch a playoff spot would be tomorrow night, if the Knicks were to lose in Golden State and the Wizards win tonight. But, Randy Wittman is not thinking about magic numbers, but rather just wants his team to keep playing the right way.
Wittman talked before the game about what to expect tonight and also gave an update on the injured Nene:
Don't forget, it's #LosWizHawks on Twitter tonight! See you at 8pm!