Washington 101, Atlanta 90

ATLANTA, Nov. 11 (AP) -- A team meeting led by Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison provided some reassurance for the Washington Wizards after opening the season with five straight losses.

A victory led by Butler and Jamison was even better.

Butler scored 24 points, Jamison added 23 with 15 rebounds and the Wizards avoided the first 0-6 start in franchise history, beating the Atlanta Hawks 101-90 Sunday.

All five Washington starters scored in double figures for the first time this season. The Wizards never trailed while setting a season high with 26 assists and a low with 12 turnovers.

"It feels like you got King Kong off your back," Butler said.

Brendan Haywood, who also had a double double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, said there was no panic at 0-5. Butler and Jamison called the meeting after Friday's loss to Denver.

"We don't have the type of team where you're gonna come in here and everybody's gonna be crying," Haywood said.

Even so, the Wizards looked at Sunday's visit to Atlanta as a must-win game.

"We had a big-time sense of urgency," Haywood said.

The Wizards had good reason to expect good things in Atlanta.

The 0-5 start was the Wizards' worst losing streak since late last season when they ended a six-game skid with a win in Atlanta on April 13. Washington won three of four against Atlanta last season and has won 11 of the past 13 meetings.

"They match up with us pretty well," said Josh Smith, who led Atlanta with 23 points but was held to four rebounds -- none on the offensive end.

"We always have a problem beating Washington," Smith said. "We've got to get past it somehow. They're in our division."

Washington gave up more than 104 points a game in the five straight losses, but held the Hawks to 39 percent shooting.

Joe Johnson had 22 points and Marvin Williams added 20 for Atlanta. Josh Childress, with 10 points, was the Hawks' only other scorer in double figures.

Gilbert Arenas scored 18 points for Washington and DeShawn Stevenson added 11. The Wizards outscored the Hawks 23-6 in second-chance points and had the edge in rebounding 53-41.

"I thought the difference was us playing with a lot of positive energy, and we shared the basketball," Washington coach Eddie Jordan said. "We never faltered and we played 48 minutes of hard basketball.

"We needed this win in the worst way."

Hawks coach Mike Woodson said the Wizards were "hungry for a win." By comparison, the Hawks were listless.

"I just think Washington was the most aggressive team," Woodson said. "They drove the ball and got to the free-throw line when they had to. ... I thought we were very lethargic early in the game."

Washington led by 19 points in the third quarter, then withstood Atlanta's fourth-quarter rally. Two free throws by Smith with 3:57 left cut it to 90-85.

"We still really weren't in the game, based on how we defended and rebounded the ball," Woodson said.

Washington answered with two free throws by Jamison and a driving layup by Arenas to push the lead to 94-85.

Jordan said before the game his team played tight for the first time in a home loss to Denver on Friday. The Wizards were outscored 33-11 in the third quarter of that game and they avoided a similar letdown after leading the Hawks 51-41 at halftime. The Wizards opened the third quarter with a 20-9 run to go up 71-52.

Hawks center Zaza Pachulia played in his first game of the season but did not start. Woodson said rookie Al Horford will continue to start at center. Horford had nine points and 10 rebounds. Pachulia had two points, three rebounds and three turnovers.

Woodson is starting another rookie, Acie Law, at point guard, but Law played only 14 minutes.

Notes: The Baltimore Bullets lost their first five games in the 1966-67 season for the only other 0-5 start in Wizards history. ... The Hawks fell to 1-2 in home games. ... Washington was Atlanta's fifth opponent in six games that appeared in last season's playoffs.

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