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Hawks hold off Wizards in overtime

The SportsXchange

WASHINGTON -- Look closely at their games rather than their record and the short-handed Wizards are not so bad, in their eyes anyway. Of course, that nasty win-loss angle is unavoidable. So is losing to Atlanta this season.

Lou Williams scored 24 points and Josh Smith had 17 points and 13 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks won for the third time in four games by defeating the Washington Wizards 100-95 in overtime on Tuesday night.

Kyle Korver scored 16 points for the Hawks (15-7), who have won all three matchups against the Wizards this season, two requiring an extra session. They survived this back-and-forth game despite Jordan Crawford's triple-double with 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the Wizards (3-19), losers of four straight.

The game included 20 lead changes -- three coming inside the final three minutes of regulation -- and 12 ties. After rallying back from seven points in the third quarter and then tying the game with 23 seconds left in the fourth, Washington had the final possession in regulation. Airball. In overtime, the Wizards took nine shots, missed seven. Down four points in overtime with 90 seconds left, Washington had two shots blocked and committed a turnover. Add it all up and it's another here-we-go-again loss.

"The way we play you would think giving ourselves a fighting chance in all these games that our record should be flipped," Martell Webster said. "The reality is what it is."

Tied at 93 with two minutes left in overtime, DeShawn Stevenson drained a 3-pointer and later added a free throw, putting the Hawks ahead for good. Leading 98-95, Atlanta committed a 24-second shot-clock violation, giving Washington possession with 24 seconds left, but Smith stuffed Nene at the rim for his fifth block of the game. Korver made two free throws with 7.7 seconds remaining to seal the win.

"They made a couple of big shots, kind of took the life out of us a little bit," said Crawford, who hit plenty of his big shots, including five 3-pointers.

Stevenson, who stepped in for Devin Harris, scored eight points after not playing before halftime. Harris suffered a foot injury in the first half.

"I had no choice but to play DeShawn," Drew said. "And I'll you what, he really stepped it up big time for me. ... His presence was felt immediately."

Trailing 85-82 with 2:52 remaining in regulation, Crawford matched his career high with his fifth 3-pointer. After Williams' bomb from beyond the arc put the Hawks up 90-88 with 43 seconds left, Earl Barron's jumper pulled Washington even with 23 seconds left. Both teams had a final possession, but Jeff Teague (13 points) was called for an offensive foul and Crawford's buzzer-beating attempt missed.

Crawford also set a career high for rebounds while his 11 assists matched a personal best. Nene scored 18 points, Bradley Beal 17 and Webster 11 for the Wizards, who received a surprise contribution from Barron. In a season-high 26 minutes, the seldom-used reserve started the second half, grabbed 14 rebounds -- six offensive -- and had four blocks.

"In that second half, I found guys that were going to go out there and play the right way," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "I thought Earl was fantastic."

Nene was also rather fantastic in his usual limited minutes. With the Brazilian big man still working his way back from a plantar fasciitis injury to his left foot, the Wizards have attempted to keep Nene on a minutes count. With overtime, he ended up playing 24, four more than desired.

"That's a new thing for me trying to monitor that on the fly," said Wittman, who briefly removed Nene in overtime, then heard it from fans apparently unaware of the ongoing minutes watch.

"I had fans heckling me," Wittman cracked before playfully jabbing the local media. "Come on, will you guys please report that this guy is on a minutes limit. They're killing me. I had to turn around and say something to them today. So that doesn't help either."

Neither does continually facing the Hawks. The Southeastern division foes have already met three times this season. Atlanta won both games on its homecourt; 101-100 in overtime on Nov. 21 and 104-95 on Dec. 7.

Smith recorded a double-double in all three meetings. This time he received plenty of scoring help from Williams, who scored 16 in the second half and made 10 of 11 free throws.

"Any time I felt like I saw a crease, I was able to take it," Williams said. "Tonight was one of those games where you didn't play well. We didn't play with a lot of energy, so I just wanted to be aggressive any time I had the ball."

The Hawks jumped out to a 10-2 lead and stayed ahead until Nene's fast-break dunk moved Washington in front 32-31 early in the second quarter. The Hawks soon countered with an 8-0 run and led 52-46 at halftime.

Beal sank 6 of 7 shots and scored 12 in the first half. Washington's rookie attempted a running dunk in the third quarter, but fell hard on his back and head. Down for a few seconds, Beal went into the locker room briefly before returning in the fourth. He missed 13 of his final 15 attempts.

NOTES: The Hawks entered the game second in the NBA, forcing 17 turnovers per game. ... Wizards coach Randy Wittman said guard John Wall has yet to participate in team practice since receiving the last of three Synvisc injections Friday. In addition to waiting for the shot to take effect, the third-year guard's left knee is still swollen. Wall has missed the entire season with a stress reaction in his left patella. ... Hawks guard Anthony Morrow missed his second consecutive game with a sore back. ... Injured on Dec. 4 against Miami, Trevor Ariza (strained calf) is "moving in the right direction," but Wittman said the small forward is doubtful for the current four games in five days stretch. Washington plays at Orlando Wednesday then a home-and-home with Detroit starting Friday. Atlanta hosts Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
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