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Hawks vs Wizards preview: Atlanta looks to slow down Washington

The Atlanta Hawks open a back-to-back set against the top two teams in the Eastern Conference Tuesday night when they take on the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Hawks begin a four-games in five nights stretch Tuesday when they hit the road for a matchup against the Southeast Division leading Washington Wizards.

Atlanta snapped a two-game losing streak on Friday with a win over the Detroit Pistons. The Hawks got a superb effort from Jeff Teague who finished with 28 points and six assists. Perhaps more importantly for Atlanta, the Hawks put up a solid defensive effort and held the Pistons to just 37 percent shooting. That was the focus coming into Atlanta after their defense had been shredded in losses to Cleveland and the Lakers. The Hawks will need another solid defensive effort if they hope to slow down the Wizards.

Washington is off to a 9-3 start which is good for second place in the Eastern Conference behind the Toronto Raptors. The Wizards lead the Hawks in the Southeast Division by 2.5 games.

Washington's start is the result of an opportunistic offense and a stingy defense. The Wizards are allowing just 95.9 points per game so far this season and are fifth in the league in defensive rating at 98.5 points per 100 possessions. They have been able to force a high number of turnovers and are in the top half of the league in rebounds per game.

When you talk about the Wizards, you instantly center on their backcourt combination of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Wall is averaging a team-best 19.1 points and 9.1 assists per game. Beal has appeared in three games this season due to a wrist injury but is already off to a great start shooting the basketball. He has yet to return to the team's starting lineup but that could come soon after he played 34 minutes in Saturday's win over Milwaukee.

The Hawks come into Tuesday's game healthy and with their full compliment of players available. DeMarre Carroll returned from a four-game absence due to a groin injury on Friday and showed no ill effects playing 31 minutes while finishing with 10 points and seven rebounds. Atlanta sent rookie forward Adreian Payne to the D-League for a pair of games over the weekend but recalled him on Sunday.

Wizards forward Nene left Saturday's game in Milwaukee after just six minutes and did not return because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Given his history with that type of injury, its doubtful that Nene will be able to go on Tuesday. Otto Porter also sat out Saturday's game due to a hamstring injury. He is listed as questionable.

Tuesday's game is the first of a back-to-back against the East's top two teams for the Hawks. Atlanta returns home on Wednesday to take on the Toronto Raptors.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Tuesday, November 25, 7 p.m. ET

Location: Verizon Center, Washington, DC

TV: SportSouth

Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM