The Hawks are rested for what a few players said could be a dangerous game against Washington at Philips Arena tonight.
The Wizards are the NBA’s only winless team (0-9), which would make them easy enough to overlook. On top of that, the Hawks are facing games at a resurgent Charlotte (5-4), vs. the Clippers (8-2) and vs. Charlotte.
But Al Horford said the Hawks won’t overlook Washington.
“They are hungry for a win,” he said. “They are going to be ready.”
Coach Larry Drew said the Hawks will start Horford, Josh Smith, Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and Devin Harris, the same starting five that defeated Orlando 81-72 on Monday in what was a ragged performance affected by some members of the team being struck by the flu and four games on the West Coast.
“I’m hoping we will be a lot better than we were on Monday night,” Drew said. “(I) didn’t see the sharpness or crispness with our execution.”
Drew gave the Hawks Tuesday off so that the players who have logged a lot of minutes could rest. Teague said it looked like the team got its legs back.
The Hawks will need to be sharp against the Wizards, led by guards Jordan Crawford and Bradley Beal. That duo is combining to average almost 24 points per game. Teague said the key to slowing them down is to consistently challenge them around the 3-point line. Washington is hitting 30.4 percent of its 3-point attempts and is averaging 86.9 points per game, compared to the Hawks’ 92.9 scoring average.
Though the Wizards are winless, five of those losses have come by seven points or less. They could be bolstered by the return of Nene.
“This Washington Wizards team is a team that’s very capable,” Drew said he told the team. “They’ve got some good players over there and some guys that have a lot of pride that have been in their ball games.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC (filling in for Chris Vivlamore)