Hawks-Wizards Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 12, 2013
After getting a much-needed boost by rallying to end a lengthy skid, the Atlanta Hawks would appear to have a chance to keep their momentum going when they face the NBA-worst Washington Wizards. The Wizards, though, have been competitive in all three games with the Hawks this season and are expected to have star point guard John Wall available for the first time in 2012-13 during Saturday night's matchup. Atlanta (21-14) ended a season-high four-game losing streak by overcoming a 15-point deficit in the second half and shooting 55.6 percent in a 103-95 home win over Utah on Friday. The Hawks averaged 87.8 points during their slide. "It's huge for us," said Devin Harris, who had a season-high 24 points in his first start since returning from a sore left foot. "It builds character. It brings a team together." Atlanta would appear to have a good opportunity at its first win streak since a four-game run Dec. 22-29 as it's won 18 of 19 over the Wizards and six in a row. The Hawks have also won nine of 10 in Washington and prevailed in each of the past two visits. Atlanta, though, had to go to overtime to win in its only visit to the Verizon Center this season, 100-95 on Dec. 18. The Hawks also needed an extra period and had to sweat through a video review of Martell Webster's buzzer beater for a 101-100 home victory over the Wizards (5-28) on Nov. 21. The Hawks nearly blew an 18-point lead in a 104-95 win against Washington on Dec. 7 in Atlanta. Josh Smith had 23 points and a season-high 15 rebounds in that win, and has averaged a team-best 21.7 points and 13.3 boards in this season's series. Atlanta, though, has also had the benefit of not having to face Wall, who has been recovering from a stress injury to his left kneecap. The former No. 1 overall draft pick was cleared to play Friday after his third straight day of practice with no complications. That news of Wall's expected return only added to the recent positivity for the Wizards, who are coming off a 101-99 win over Northwest Division-leading Oklahoma City on Monday. Bradley Beal hit the go-ahead jumper with 0.3 seconds left and scored 22 points, tying Webster for the team lead. The Wizards had lost 13 of 14 and five in a row before that victory. "It's a new beginning," Wall said. "I think it's exciting that my teammates are excited to have me back on the court." Wizards coach Randy Wittman said that Wall's minutes will initially be determined by the team's trainers. "He's going to be going 100 miles per hour, knowing John. He's going to have to temper that but you also want him to play the way he plays. I don't want to pull back too much on that," Wittman said. "His conditioning is something I'm going to have to keep an eye on." Wall was held to eight points on 1-of-10 shooting in his most recent meeting with Atlanta, a 95-92 home loss March 24, after averaging 18.2 in his first six matchups.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ball brothers’ H.S. coach details how hard LaVar Ball is to work with

Philip Rivers shares thoughts on Chargers possibly drafting QB

Molina rips Jones for saying Puerto Rico celebrated early

Bill Murray goes nuts celebrating Xavier’s upset

Pat Kelsey ditches UMass right before first press conference

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Top GM candidates not interested in Redskins job due to Daniel Snyder

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks were more free-flowing before triangle emphasis

Report: Deal in works for Raiders to play at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas

Yoenis Cespedes: MLB would grow if they played with Latin culture

Georgetown fires John Thompson III after 13 seasons

GGG, Canelo Alvarez reportedly resume fight talks

Box Score 3/24: Waiting on West Virginia

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

With Team USA's victory, World Baseball Classic (finally) lived up to its potential

The NFL distraction playbook

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Box Score 3/23: Team USA wins their first WBC title

The 'Duke schadenfreude season came early this year' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Eat, Drink, Watch: Weekends are for upsets

The 'Once again, Barry Bonds is the best power hitter in San Francisco' quiz

The NFL distraction playbook

With Team USA's victory the WBC (finally) lived up to its potential

The Aesthetic: The world of player exclusive sneakers

Which Sweet 16 team should you be rooting for?

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Steph Curry pushes OKC's buttons

Re-ranking the Sweet 16 for the NCAA Tournament

Lingering issues for each 2016 MLB postseason team

Eastern Conference bottom feeders to watch down the stretch

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker