Dave Johnson: Wizards Fall Hard to the Hawks

Dave Johnson: Wizards Fall Hard to the Hawks
November 26, 2010, 4:14 am
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Thursday, November 25, 2010 11:04 p.m.
CSNWashington.comAtlanta---On Wednesday night the Wizards were able to break bread as a team and celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. Against the Hawks, the Wizards just looked broken and had little to celebrate in a 116-96 loss.The feast belonged to the Hawks. Losers of seven of their previous nine games, the Hawks played like a team eager to make a statement and return to the form they had when they won their first six games of the season. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 21 points, while Josh Smith added 20 points to go with a game-high 14 rebounds. Al Horford grabbed 13 rebounds as the Hawks dominated the Wizards on the boards 48-36.From the start the Wizards did not seem to be able to match the Hawks energy. In the first quarter the Hawks, a team that loves to score in transition, had a 16-2 advantage in fast break points. The Wizards did their part to help the Hawks with 5 turnovers that led to 9 of the Hawks 28 points in the opening 12 minutes.Andray Blatche had a promising start and scored 12 of the Wizards 18 points in the first quarter. Blatche was aggressive in attacking the basket but then did not score the rest of the night as the Wizards struggled to find any kind of rhythm on offense.While Gilbert Arenas led the Wizards in scoring with 21 points, his shot selection at times was a problem and he ended up shooting 7 o 18 from the field. The Wizards most consistent offensive performance of the night was actually turned in off the bench by Nick Young with 20 points.With Al Thornton sidelined by a sprained left ankle suffered against the Sixers, John Wall started alongside Kirk Hinrich and Gilbert Arenas in a three-guard lineup. Wall had some soreness in his left foot after the Sixers game and was never able to get going against the Hawks. Wall finished with 10 points on 3 of 12 shooting from the field.Perhaps the Wizards night of frustration was best summed up with 5:42 left in the third quarter when Wizards JaVale McGee and Trevor Booker battled each other for a rebound and lost the ball. Smith scooped up the loose ball and finished with a dunk to give the Hawks a 71-50 lead.The Hawks were able to rest all of their starters in the fourth quarter and the Wizards also turned to its bench for extended minutes. Rookie Kevin Seraphin had his best game of his young Wizards career with 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 blocked shot in 16 minutes.The Wizards have been plagued by slow starts all season, but often have been able to use their defense to get back in games. There was never an answer against the Hawks who shot 48 percent from the field and scored at least 25 points in all four quarters..