Game On: Wizards-Hawks preview

Game On: Wizards-Hawks preview
February 19, 2014, 1:15 pm
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Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal (3) holds the ball as Toronto Raptors power forward Amir Johnson (15) defends in the fourth quarter at Verizon Center. The Raptors won 103-93.

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)

These two teams are heading south and are desperate to turn around their fortunes with the East tightening in the stretch run of the season. The Wizards have lost five of their last six while the Hawks have dropped six in a row going into Wednesday's game. 

TV: Wizards Central pregame show begins 7 ET on CSN. Tipoff from Phillips Arena is 7:30 and Wizards Postgame Live comes immediately after the game ends. Radio: 106.7 FM. 1500 AM.

Last game: Wizards (25-28) lost vs. Toronto Raptors 103-93 on Tuesday; Hawks (25-27) lost at the Indiana Pacers 108-98 on Tuesday. 

Last meeting: The Wizards lost 101-99 OT on the road Dec. 13, overcoming a 15-point deficit with eight minutes left only to lose on a game-winning shot by PF Al Horford as time expired. 

Projected starting lineups: Wizards –- PG John Wall, SG Bradley Beal, SF Trevor Ariza, PF Nene, C Marcin Gortat. Hawks –- PG Jeff Teague, SG Kyle Korver, SF Cartier Martin, PF Paul Millsap, C Gustavo Ayon.

Entry passes: 1). Hawks' reserves can produce, notably former Wizards PG Shelvin Mack. 2). Nene is dealing with sickness after contracting what the team is calling a stomach virus. 3). Gortat and Nene should dominate inside. 4). Small lineup worked well vs. Toronto, but will Wizards consider using it in spots more? 5). SF Martell Webster has been out of sync for Washington.

X-factors: Although Ayon starts, backup Elton Brand could get more minutes because he injured his shoulder vs. Indiana. ... No Horford or C Pero Antic (ankle) or F DeMarre Carroll (hamstring). 

He said it: "Have amnesia, this game is over. That’s always my motto. Just have to look at it like we still have 29 more to go. This is a tough Atlanta team and they are coming off a loss to Indiana so they’re definitely going to be hungry to get a win. It’s definitely a big (game) for the both of us. So whatever team comes out with the most energy, ready to go from the start, will probably determine who will be the winner." -- Beal, after shooting 2-for-10 vs. Toronto

Around the bend: The Wizards will return to D.C. immediately after the game, be off Thursday, practice Friday and play vs. the New Orleans Pelicans at Verizon Center on Saturday (CSN, 7).

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