National Basketball Association
Atlanta at Washington
When: 8:00 PM ET, Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Where: Verizon Center, Washington, District of Columbia
The Washington Wizards missed out on their best opportunity to jump back into the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference and now have to watch their backs with the fourth-place Toronto Raptors creeping up from behind. The Wizards will try to bounce back when they host the stumbling Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
Washington briefly held the No. 2 spot earlier this month but dropped four of its last five, including a 110-102 loss at Boston on Friday, to fall 2 1/2 games behind the Celtics. "It’s offense and defense, it’s not just one thing," Wizards guard Bradley Beal told the Washington Post of the team’s recent issues. "We got to figure it out, whatever it is." The Hawks have their own issues and are clinging to the No. 5 spot in the East, one game ahead of the sixth-place Indiana Pacers and just three in front of the ninth-place Miami Heat entering play on Tuesday. Atlanta struggled on offense over the last four games and failed to reach 100 points in any of the losses, including a 105-90 setback at Charlotte on Monday that marked the third straight double-digit setback.
8 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Southeast (Atlanta), CSN Mid-Atlantic (Washington)ABOUT THE HAWKS (37-33):
Monday marked the start of a closing stretch in which Atlanta will play eight of its final 13 games away from home, including the next two against playoff contenders from the East (Washington and Milwaukee). "There is a concern with how we are playing," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters. "It’s always been about what we are doing day-to-day. If you are doing things well day-to-day, you’ll move up in the standings and win games. If you are not doing things well day-to-day, the reverse will happen. We just have to be better." Atlanta was without All-Star forward Paul Millsap (knee) in each of the last two games and does not expect to have him back for Wednesday.ABOUT THE WIZARDS (42-28):
Washington was one of the hottest teams in the league over a two-month stretch before stumbling recently, and coach Scott Brooks was disappointed with his team's effort on the interior on Monday after giving up 20 offensive rebounds. "A lot of things hurt us tonight, but that was definitely glaring — offensive rebounds," Brooks told reporters. "We made them miss, but you got to make sure you rebound the basketball. It’s always the finishing part of the defense, and 20 offensive rebounds (is) way too many." The Wizards get the Brooklyn Nets at home on Friday before closing the regular season with eight of the final 10 games on the road.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Hawks SF Thabo Sefolosha scored 11 points on Monday - matching his total from the previous three games.
2. Wizards PG John Wall was limited to eight assists in each of the last two games after handing out a career-high 20 against Chicago on Friday.
3. Atlanta took the first meeting on Oct. 27 but Washington won the next two, including a 112-86 drubbing on the road on Jan. 27.PREDICTION:
Wizards 116, Hawks 103
Stats and Records