Mar 14, 2012, Los Angeles, CA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) dribbles the ball against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Hawks 96-82. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
The Atlanta Hawks finally returned home from a long six-game road trip and snapped a two-game losing streak with a 102-88 win over the Washington Wizards. After trailing 54-50 at the half, the Hawks clamped down in the third quarter holding the Wizards to just 10 points and taking a 71-64 lead into the fourth. From there Atlanta continued to cook offensively and cruised home to the victory.
Joe Johnson was on the mark in this game as the Wizards struggled to matchup with him. Chris Singleton drew the assignment from the outset but lost Johnson in transition a couple of times leading to made threes off the break. Singleton eventually landed in foul trouble and Johnson punished the smaller Jordan Crawford. Joe ended up tying his season-high with 34 points hitting 12-19 shots and 6-8 from three-point range. He also added six rebounds and five assists for good measure.
Josh Smith put on another of his do-everything nights finishing with 23 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Josh was 9-17 from the field, 2-4 from three and 3-4 from the free throw line to complete an overall excellent night. Jeff Teague played just over 43 minutes and finished with 14 points, four assists and five steals.
In what is becoming a regular occurrence, Zaza Pachulia notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Atlanta got 16 points off the bench with 14 of them coming from Jannero Pargo and Ivan Johnson. Pargo finished with eight on 3-6 shooting including a couple of threes. Johnson returned to the club after leaving the team on the road trip and finished with six in just under 15 minutes of action.
Trevor Booker led the Wizards with 18 points while John Wall finished with 14 points and nine assists but was also credited with nine turnovers. Roger Mason finished with 12 and Andray Blatche added 11 in the loss.
The Hawks piled up 13 steals on the night but spent a large part of the first half gambling on defense and getting burnt by the Wizards. Atlanta allowed the Wizards a number of open looks in the first half and at the beginning of the third quarter before finally clamping down and taking control of the game. Offensively Atlanta recorded 30 assists on 40 made field goals and were 12-27 from long range. That helped offset a 39-34 rebounding advantage for the Wizards.
With the win, the Hawks improve to 25-19 on the season and now trail the Indiana Pacers by just one game for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks also picked up a game on Boston who lost to Sacramento 120-95 Friday night. Atlanta now leads the Celtics by a game and a half in the conference standings.
Saturday is a travel day for the Hawks as they will head back at on the road for a one-game trip to Cleveland for an afternoon game on Sunday.