Despite the Hawks’ recent struggles, that streak doesn’t seem likely to end Thursday night in Atlanta, where Washington tries again for its first road win of the season.
Atlanta (8-7) opened the season 6-0, but has struggled since and is now looking to end a three-game losing streak. The Hawks lost 107-101 in overtime at New Jersey on Tuesday in the opener of a six-game stretch against teams at or below .500.
“We just have to keep working,” coach Larry Drew said. “We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. As you go through the course of the season, there are going to be some ups and some downs. You learn how to handle adversity. These are the types of situations that will make you stronger as a team. You don’t fragment. You pull together.”
Johnson’s shooting struggles have played a big part in the losing streak. After leading the team in scoring in 2009-10 with 21.3 points per game, Johnson is averaging 17.5 this season and has been held to an average of 11.0 over the last four games while shooting 29.6 percent.
Johnson scored 25 points in a 99-95 win against Washington on Oct. 30, including 14 in the fourth quarter. The Wizards haven’t beaten Atlanta since a 102-98 overtime win at Philips Arena on Jan. 11, 2008.
The Hawks are looking to get off to a better start after struggling early in games. They’ve trailed after the first quarter in each of their last four, and Atlanta never led against New Jersey.
Drew told the Nets’ official website that his team needs to be better prepared.
“We can’t sneak up on teams anymore,” he said. “Every game we play, teams are going to be gearing for us. We have to be mentally prepared, we’ve got to be physically prepared, and we’ve got to approach every game with a playoff mindset.”
Washington (5-8) has split its last six games and is looking to win back-to-back contests for the first time after a 116-114 overtime win over Philadelphia on Tuesday.
After a 115-110 overtime loss at Detroit on Sunday, the Wizards overcame a 17-point deficit Tuesday. John Wall(notes), who missed the previous four games with a sprained left foot, was 40 feet from the basket when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 3.5 seconds left in regulation.
“That game was really pulling teeth,” guard Gilbert Arenas(notes) said. “We didn’t come out and play well. We played well. We didn’t play hard. We played hard. It was one of those roller-coaster games.”
Wall showed few signs of his foot injury, coming off the bench to shoot 7 of 15, including three 3-pointers. The top overall pick in this year’s draft had 28 points and nine assists last month against Atlanta.
The Wizards, though, are still looking for their first road win of the season. They are 0-6 and have lost five in a row at Atlanta.