The script was familiar for the Washington Wizards in their 104-95 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, who kept the red, white and blue winless on the road this season.
After winning two of their last three, including a shocking victory over the defending champion Miami Heat Tuesday night, the Wizards looked to be rebounding as a team. Friday’s game showed there was a lot of work still to be done, as the team fell into old habits that haunted them during their seemingly endless season opening losing streak. At one point trailing by as many as 18, the Wizards closed the gap late, but couldn’t find enough gas in the tank to pull out the victory.
Washington made it close in the fourth quarter, pulling within two by closing the game to 91-89 after Bradley Beal hit two free throws. It all fell apart quickly for the Wizards though, as Atlanta went on a 12-6 to close out the game. With time ticking away the Wizards looked like they could get back into the contest with a big defensive stop, but instead they did the one thing they could not do, give up a three point play. Josh Smith of the Hawks was fouled by Martell Webster when the score was just 99-91 with 1:21 left in the game and Smith went to the line. Suddenly the Wizards went from being down just eight points, to being down 10 after Smith made the bucket.
Atlanta would continue the strong defense, as the only other points they would surrender in the remaining seconds were to Jordan Crawford, on free throws and a layup.
It was the first quarter that really did the Wizards in, again. Atlanta stomped on the red, white and blue dropping 31 points compared to just the Wizards’ 19. Despite sticking close with the Hawks for the next three quarters, even outscoring them in the third, the team just could not dig deep enough to pull themselves out of the early hole.
Four Wizards scored in double-digits, with Kevin Seraphin totaling a team high 19 points and to go along with seven boards. It was the first time in three games Seraphin failed to post a double-double. Beal added 18 of his own points and was a perfect six-for-six from the free throw line. Friday was the third time in four games former first round pick Jan Vesely did not take the floor for Washington.
Josh Smith was the game’s high-scorer and led the Hawks with 23 points and added 15 rebounds for a double-double. He was not the only Hawk with a double-double either, as Al Horford had 14 rebounds to go with 14 points of his own.
The loss drops the Wizards to 2-14 on the season and continues the nightmare of a season for Head Coach Randy Wittman and the rest of the Wizards coaching staff. Washington will not get any relief either, as the team returns home to the District of Columbia to take on the Golden State Warriors tomorrow night at the Verizon Center. Sitting at 12-7, the Warriors sit fifth in the Western Conference and are having one of their best starts to a season in recent memory.