Wizards carry momentum into Atlanta | News
(Sports Network) - The Washington Wizards will try to parlay their success Tuesday night against the defending champion Miami Heat into a first road win this season Friday when they visit the Atlanta Hawks.
The Wiz knocked off LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and company with a 105-101 home victory. Five Wizards scored in double-figures, led by 22 off the bench for Jordan Crawford. In fact, the five reserves who played on Tuesday night combined for 64 points.
The stunning upset elicited great response from Washington faithful.
"My first Wizard's Game? Was a great one!," tweeted Washington Redskins stud quarterback Robert Griffin III.
"Do you believe in miracles! @WashWizards beat #Heat 105-101. #WizHeat," tweeted CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
"I'm so happy for those guys," head coach Randy Wittman said after the game. "I told them, 'Maybe it's starting to pay off for us now.' - those close games that we should've won but gave away."
Problem for the Wizards is, the road doesn't get much easier. They face a Hawks team which has won seven of its last eight and is 6-3 inside Philips Arena.
The Hawks have done everything well in the 2012-13 campaign, but defense has been the calling card. Atlanta ranks sixth in the NBA in points allowed, sixth in opponents' field-goal percentage and the Hawks are the only team in the league who have not allowed an opposing team to shoot over 50 percent from the floor.
They are tops in forcing turnovers (18.1), tops in fast-break points (17.4 ppg) and ninth in points in the paint (42.7 ppg).
Atlanta has just been a very strong, well-rounded team all season. That was on display Wednesday night when the Hawks outlasted the Denver Nuggets, 108-104.
Al Horford led the way with 25 points and 12 rebounds and four other Hawks finished in double-figures.
Josh Smith celebrated his 27th birthday on Wednesday with 16 points, 13 boards, two assists, a steal and a block.
"It was icing on the cake for the game," said Smith. "This whole game was kind of like a tug-of-war match. We were able to get some crucial stops down the stretch."
Atlanta was able to get back in the win column after an ugly home loss one week ago to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hawks play the next three on the road and the trip will be a challenge thanks to stops in Memphis and Miami.
The Hawks, who expect Kyle Korver back after the birth of his first child, pulled out a 101-100 nail-biter against the Wizards on Nov. 21. A Martell Webster putback was deemed to come after the horn sounded, thus robbing the Wizards of a first win.
Atlanta has dominated this Southeast Division matchup in recent history. The Hawks have won four straight, 16 of their last 17 against the Wiz and haven't lost at home to Washington since Jan. 11, 2008 (9 straight wins).