Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 12/7/12
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks had to hold off the Washington Wizards, yet another team with a losing record, and coach Larry Drew isn't loving that. On the other hand, he'd rather the Hawks have to hang on for a win than have to scramble out of a deep hole. The Wizards made a furious fourth-quarter comeback, cutting the Hawks' 18-point lead to two with 3:56 remaining, but reverted to an every-man-for-himself offense and defense, allowing the Hawks to win 104-95. "We didn't trust again," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said in clipped tones. "We quit running and moving the ball, started holding and dribbling didn't trust what we were doing." But Wittman had to concede that, "Their guards totally dominated us tonight, too. Then we got dominated on the boards." All of the Hawks' starters scored in double figures. Josh Smith had 23 points and 15 rebounds, Al Horford scored 14 points to go with 14 rebounds and Jeff Teague scored 19 points for Atlanta. "This was a really tough win for us," Drew said. "From a mental standpoint, it was a big challenge. Offensively, they do a phenomenal job moving the baseketball. They're big and physical. "I just thought this would be a mental challenge for our guys. I was really concerned with that going into this game." Smith was unconcerned about the Wizards' comeback. "This is a game of runs," he said. "Despite their record, they're a pretty good team to me. They had a groove going. "Every team's going to make a run. But as long as we stop the runs and get wins in close games, I think that's the most important." Kevin Seraphin led the Wizards, scoring 19 points off the bench. Bradley Beal scored 14 of his 18 points in the third quarter. Nene finished with 12 points and six rebounds. "We weren't down in the Heat game," Beal said, referring to their surprise win over the champions on Tuesday, "so we didn't have that feeling like we were pressing. This game we were pressing. Sometimes we got back to selfish ways." In a fast-paced game, the Hawks (11-5) were smoking early, shooting 57 percent from the field as they built a 31-19 first-quarter lead. The Wizards (2-14), who have lost 10 in a row in Atlanta and haven't won there since Jan. 11, 2008, whittled the deficit to six points in the second quarter on the strength of their bench, which outscored the Hawks' bench 22-9 in the first half. But a late rally in the second period gave the Hawks a 54-41 lead at the break. "What we didn't do defensively cost us the game," Wittman said. NOTES: Drew was "teetering" between his large or small starting lineup. He chose small: Teague, Horford, Smith, Devin Harris and DeShawn Stevenson. ... Harris is finally getting his game legs under him after experiencing knee soreness during training camp. He also missed the Nov. 24 game against the Clippers with turf toe. Now, though, he's quicker getting into the lane in transition and going coast to coast. That's key because, as Drew points out, "Our strength is going to be our ability to play in the open court. ... Drew also says he's been stressing a certain technique in defending the pick and roll, and he was expecting that execution to be tested against the Wizards. ... Kyle Korver, out with back spasms, did some rehab during shootaround and got treatment, but was not at the game. His wife, Juliet, had their first child, a girl they named Kyra Elyse, Wednesday afternoon. ... . Wittman said before the game that his team's 101-100 overtime loss to the Hawks on Nov. 21 was, "one of those learning experiences. I think it's helped us." Now he wants the team to build on its new ability to close out games and not let what they did in Tuesday's stunning 105-101 win over the Miami Heat go to waste. ... Trevor Ariza was out with a strained left calf sustained in the game against the Heat. Martell Webster got his first start of the season in his place. ... John Wall of the Wizards is shooting in practices but not jumping. Neither he nor anyone else knows when he'll be back from that stress injury in his left patella.
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