Dave Johnson: Hawks Hand Wizards 5th Loss In A Row

Dave Johnson: Hawks Hand Wizards 5th Loss In A Row
March 12, 2010, 2:57 am
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Thursday, March 11, 2010 9:49pm

Hawks vs. Wizards Game Highlights & Postgame

By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comWashington----The Washington Wizards are just hurting themselves. Thirty points from Andray Blatche and a career night from JaVale McGee were canceled out by turnovers in a 105-99 loss to the Atlanta Hawks to extend the Wizards losing streak to five games.While the Wizards did so many things well, they could not control Jamal Crawford who came off the bench to lead the Hawks with a game-high 29-points and further his case to be the NBAs Sixth Man of the Year.The Wizards shot 49 percent from the field and dominated the Hawks on the boards where they had a 42-29 advantage in rebounds. It didnt matter because the Wizards committed 21 turnovers that led to 32 of the Hawks points.You cant turn the ball over as many times as we did tonight against a team that has won as many games as Atlanta has this year, said Wizards guard Mike Miller. The way Atlanta gets out in the open court and how athletic they are puts a lot of pressure on your defense. Atlanta forced us to make some bad passes which they capitalized on.Indeed the Hawks were effective in denying the passing lanes and at times the Wizards struggled to make the first entry pass to start their offense. In addition Blatche, often dealing with two defenders, committed seven of the Wizards turnovers.Still it was Blatche and McGee who led an inside game that helped compensate for the Wizards miscues. To go with Blatches 30-points, McGee had a career high 20-points including eight dunks to match Orlandos Dwight Howard for most dunks in an NBA game this season.Ive seen a lot of enthusiasm out of him, Blatche said of McGee. Hes working hard. Hes improving. I see him in the gym, getting extra shots, getting extra moves done, in the weight room. All of his hard work is starting to pay off for him. Further amplifying the work of Blatche and McGee is the fact that the Atlanta Hawks are ranked fourth in the NBA in paint scores. Instead the Wizards had the 48-36 advantage in points in the paint and a 26-11 advantage in second chance points.In fact the Wizards work on the boards saved them and had them locked in a competitive game until the Hawks composure on offense prevailed. At the end of the third quarter the Hawks went on a 13-3 run to build a twelve point lead at 85-73 with 10:12 left in the fourth quarter.Like they did in Tuesdays turnover-plagued loss to Houston, the Wizards showed a fight and determination down the stretch. With 1:21 remaining Blatche was able to drive around the Hawks Josh Smith to bring the Wizards to within six points at 101-95.The Wizards then got the stop and rebound they needed and Miller found McGee in transition for his eighth slam dunk of the night. Miller, who only took eight shots, had seven assists and now the Wizards only trailed 101-97 with 54-seconds left.Again the Wizards tightened on defense and snared the rebound on a missed Joe Johnson jump shot near the end of the twenty-four second clock, but were unable to push the ball up the floor because of an inadvertent whistle.Instead the Hawks defense was able to get set and the Wizards received the ball with 30.7-seconds left in the game. From the block Blatche then backed down Smith before turning to the baseline, but his jumper didnt go and Smith grabbed the rebound effectively ending the Wizards final push.So for the Wizards it is not about commitment. It is about execution. The Wizards are competitive despite wasted possessions but have to be better to get back in the win column.The former team had a lot more veteran guys and I think they were struggling a little bit, but now they are rejuvenated, noted the Hawks Joe Johnson. They have a bunch of guys trying to find their way in the league. Blatche has been giving All-Star numbers since the break and I was just trying to keep up with him. The Wizards play at Detroit on Friday. Earl Boykins will see playing time after sitting out the game against the Hawks. The Wizards are trying to manage players with three games in three night.

Check out Bob Youngentob's Hawks vs. Wizards photo gallery here