Wizards Hope to Stop Four-Game Slide as They Host the Hawks
Posted Nov 28 2006 11:47AM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
A long losing streak has the Washington Wizards searching for answers. A long winning streak at home against the Atlanta Hawks may offer reason for hope.
The Wizards (4-9), in danger of matching their worst skid of last season, look to extend a five-game home winning streak against the Hawks (5-6) when they meet Tuesday night.
Washington dropped its fourth straight Saturday night, 115-111 to Detroit. The Wizards lost five in a row from April 7-14 and Nov. 15-23, 2005.
``We have to mix some things up, play harder on defense, be smarter - even switch the starting lineup,'' Washington guard DeShawn Stevenson said. ``Sometimes you have to do stuff like that to get going. ``Hopefully we can try different things. We've got to get a win.''
Only Charlotte and Memphis, both 3-10, have worse records than the Wizards.
The Wizards would seem to have a good chance to end their slump in a matchup with the Hawks, losers five of six and five straight at Washington since Dec. 30, 2003.
Washington guard Gilbert Arenas bounced back from perhaps his worst game of the season to score 28 points against the Pistons. Arenas also had 10 assists after shooting 1-for-12 and finishing with three points in a loss at Memphis on Friday night. He leads the team with 26.3 points, 6.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game.
``Gil got his groove back a little bit. A lot,'' Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said.
Arenas is averaging 22.4 points in 16 games against Atlanta.
Arenas' play wasn't Washington's only positive Saturday. The Wizards led 35-34 after the first quarter, the most points allowed by the Pistons in any period this season.
Caron Butler scored 25 for Washington, while Antawn Jamison added 22 before fouling out. Butler is averaging 23.5 points and 10.5 rebounds in his last two games.
Butler and Jamison are tied for second on the team with 17.5 points per game.
Hawks coach Mike Woodson would like to see his veterans take more of a leadership role as the team tries to end its struggles.
``Yeah, I've told them to speak up,'' Woodson said. ``I've talked to Lorenzen (Wright) and (Tyronn) Lue and Joe (Johnson) a little bit. I just think we've had some slippage in terms of how we're going about things. ``I've really been harping on our concentration level, and we have to talk more. We can't have slippage because when you do that; it is what gets you beat.''
Johnson had 16 points for Atlanta in a 98-79 loss at Orlando on Saturday night, the first time he has been held under 20 this season. Johnson leads the team with 26.6 points per game and has topped the Hawks in scoring in each of the 11 games.
The Hawks were held to their second-lowest point total of the season as they shot 36 percent and committed 20 turnovers.
``Maybe it was time to have one of those games,'' Woodson said. ``We'll just have to put this one behind us and move forward.''
Atlanta rookie forward Solomon Jones was a bright spot, blocking a career-high five shots in 25 minutes.
The Wizards won their first three meetings against the Hawks last season before losing 114-101 on April 7 in Atlanta.
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