Wizards-Hawks Preview

The Associated Press

One thing is for certain Wednesday night.

The Atlanta Hawks will either avoid their longest losing streak in seven seasons or their 11-game home win streak over the Washington Wizards will end.

These Southeast Division teams are seeking to snap out of slumps after turning in disappointing efforts in their first games since the All-Star break.

Atlanta (25-27) fell 108-96 at Indiana on Tuesday. The Hawks hope to bounce back by avoiding their first seven-game slide since March 21-April 4, 2007, after allowing a season-high 35 first-quarter points to the Pacers.

"Right now, what we need to do is we need to play better in longer stretches," coach Mike Budenholzer said. "Sometimes it's how we start the game, it isn't where we want it to be and how we want to start. Other times, it's different periods in the game but I think our group battled despite the poor start."

Washington (25-28) could have moved past Atlanta in the standings but fell for the fifth time in six games, 103-93 at home to Toronto on Tuesday. The Raptors' 56.8 percent shooting was the highest allowed by the Wizards this season.

The big edge Wednesday for the Hawks will be Philips Arena. The Wizards haven't won there since a 102-98 overtime victory Jan. 11, 2008.

Atlanta, however, has a depleted roster. Forward DeMarre Carroll was listed as a game-time decision Tuesday, but he didn't play for the second straight game because of a left hamstring strain. Center Gustavo Ayon left in the first half with a right shoulder injury and didn't play in the second half.

Atlanta is one of three Eastern Conference cities where fourth-year guard John Wall has yet to win along with Indiana and Orlando. He'll match up at point guard with Jeff Teague while also saying he's wary of fellow All-Star Paul Millsap, who has double-doubles in two meetings this season.

"Teague and Millsap, they've got an All-Star on their side and they got another guy who had an opportunity to be one," Wall said. "And then you definitely have to watch for Kyle Korver."

Wall made 6 of 22 shots for 13 points and added 11 assists in the Wizards' last visit, a 101-99 overtime loss Dec. 13. Al Horford's jumper at the buzzer was the game-winner.

Horford averaged 25.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in two meetings this season, but he's out following right pectoral muscle surgery.

His absence should help a Wizards team that was outscored 60-48 in the paint by the Raptors.

''We had trouble guarding off the dribble tonight,'' said coach Randy Wittman, who was ejected in the fourth quarter. ''We defended pretty much a lot of their sets and then it gets down to seven, eight seconds on the shot clock and they break you down off the dribble. That's how they get 60 points in the paint.''

Wittman went on to say that Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Martell Webster were turning down shots. That trio made 6 of 23 attempts for 22 points, with Beal 2 of 10 for nine.

''I was just taking what they were giving me. I found my teammates open,'' Beal said. ''We just didn't make shots and that's all it was."