Last month, the Atlanta Hawks were unable to make it into Washington D.C. due to a winter storm.
They are facing a different kind of challenge heading into the rescheduled matchup.
The Hawks will try to avoid losing three straight for the first time in more than two months when they visit the Washington Wizards on Thursday night.
Atlanta (40-23) is making its first trip to the nation’s capital this season after the originally scheduled matchup Feb. 6 was postponed because of a blizzard which left two feet of snow in the area.
Atlanta would have gone into that meeting on a two-game winning streak, but heads into Thursday’s contest having dropped two in a row. The Hawks have been held to fewer than 100 points in both of the road losses after averaging 115.3 points during a four-game winning streak. They are coming off a 99-98 loss at New York on Monday.
After rallying from 10 down, Josh Smith(notes) had a chance to put Atlanta ahead, but his shot was blocked with 1.7 seconds left and officials ruled upon review that Al Horford’s(notes) short jumper came after the buzzer.
“I wasn’t aware of the clock,” Horford said. “I didn’t know what was going on. I just threw it up there. Obviously you know it wasn’t good.”
The inability to convert late came after the Hawks blew a 12-point second-half lead to Miami on Saturday.
Smith finished with 25 points, 10 rebounds and six assists against the Knicks.
Smith will try to help Atlanta avoid losing three in a row for the first time since a four-game skid Dec. 29-Jan. 4. He has averaged 15.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in two victories over the Wizards this season.
This is a critical stretch for Atlanta, which is trying to catch Boston for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks’ next three opponents all have losing records.
The last-place Wizards (21-40) have lost four straight and six of seven. They’ve averaged 84.2 points over the last five games and struggled offensively again in a 96-88 loss to Houston on Tuesday.
Nick Young(notes) and Andray Blatche(notes) each scored 18 points, but Blatche was on the bench the final 4 1/2 minutes when Washington cut the lead to six in the final two minutes. He had five turnovers and was 9 of 22 from the field.
“Dray struggled - a lot,” coach Flip Saunders said. “He wants to the carry the team, so he got into a situation where he tried to do almost a little bit too much. We took him out, we were down big, those guys came back. You reward the guys that got you there. … His biggest thing is he’s become a high-turnover player.”
Blatche has been the Wizards’ top contributor since being inserted in the starting lineup Feb. 17, scoring 23.5 points over the last 11 games. However, he is also averaging 4.5 turnovers in the last six contests, up from his season average of 1.9.
The Wizards have lost four straight at home and four in a row against Atlanta there.