Saturday, April 9, 2011 9:17 p.m.
By Dave Johnson
CSNWashington.comWashington----It was the final Saturday home game of the 20102011 season and the Wizards did their part to make it real party atmosphere. Over 19,000 fans enjoyed an evening free of tension as the Wizards rolled past the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks 115-83.The Hawks had a 2-0 lead and then the Wizards just took over. They were more aggressive and played with more conviction. . The Wizards dominated the boards with a 48-33 rebounding advantage and had 11 steals while scoring 27 points off 23 Hawks turnovers.We really came out with the mentality that we wanted to play and win tonight, said Wizards head coach Flip Saunders. In our league no matter how good or bad you are, there is a point in the game where you might say tonight is not the night, and I think that is what happened for them. They were missing some key guys but tonight we just played harder and came out with the win.While the Hawks were missing Josh Smith because of a knee sprain, their struggle to respond was inexplicable. The Hawks have already secured the fifth spot in the NBAs Eastern Conference, but the Wizards continued to be energized by players who spent most of the season in the NBAs D-League.Othyus Jeffers was tenacious on defense with 3 steals and led the Wizards in rebounds with 11 to go with 13 points. Larry Owens, who was just signed Wednesday after helping the Tulsa 66ers to a championship, added 10 points and 2 blocked shots.Four of the Wizards five starters scored in double figures led by Andray Blatche with a game high 23 points. Since his return from a 10-game absence with a shoulder injury, Blatche really has been the Wizards driving force.Against the Hawks, Blatche helped the Wizards set the tone early when he scored 9 of his points in the first quarter. Blatche then provided the exclamation mark in the third quarter when he completed an 8-0 run with a flying slam dunk after a Jordan Crawford miss to give the Wizards a 75-53 lead.Crawford was probably highly motivated to be playing against the team that drafted him and then traded him to get Kirk Hinrich. While Crawford did have the kind of scoring night typical of the ones he has provided in a Wizards uniform, he contributed a game-high 8 assists.John Wall had 7 assists to go with his 19 points and JaVale McGee finished with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Yi Jianlian was also part of the Wizards bench story with 15 points and 9 rebounds.Al Horford led the Hawks with 21 points and 10 rebounds. NBA sixth-man of the year candidate Jamal Crawford tried to bring the Hawks to life when he scored 11 of his 13 points in the second quarter. Crawfords second quarter surge failed to inspire the Hawks. By the fourth quarter the Hawks starters were basically spectators and the Wizards had 27-11 advantage over the game final 12 minutes to extend their home winning streak to three games.The Wizards final regular season home game is Monday against the Boston Celtics at Verizon Center.That last home game is basically going to be for ourselves and for the fans, Blatche said. Let our fans know that even though its been a bad season, we are starting to grow into a great team. Let them know that next year should be different for us.