Wizards-Hawks Preview

The Associated Press

A disappointing road trip didn't lessen the resolve of the Atlanta Hawks not to make any moves at the trade deadline.

The Hawks will try to avoid a third straight loss Friday night when they host the Washington Wizards.

Atlanta's hold on sixth place in the Eastern Conference became a little more tenuous after it completed a 2-4 road trip with a 96-82 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

As expected, Atlanta (24-19) stayed quiet at the deadline, choosing not to appease Josh Smith's request for a trade.

General manager Rick Sund had said what the team needs is for everyone to get healthy. Al Horford is out for the season with a torn left pectoral muscle while leading scorer Joe Johnson returned last week after missing six of the previous seven games with tendinitis in his left knee.

The Hawks haven't shown much offensive power without Horford and that was particularly evident on the trip. They were held to 86 or fewer points in three of the four losses on the trek.

Johnson had 19 points and Smith 18 against the Clippers. Atlanta shot 34.6 percent and allowed the Clippers to connect on 54.3 percent overall while hitting 10 of 20 from 3-point range.

Smith, who went 1 of 8 from the field for seven points in the second half, scored his fewest points in eight games after averaging 26.6 points during the previous seven.

Points weren't nearly as difficult to come by in the Hawks' lone meeting this season with Washington (10-32) - a 101-83 victory on Dec. 28. Johnson led six players in double figures with 18 points.

Atlanta has won seven in a row at home against Washington and 13 of 14 overall.

The Wizards continue a six-game trip after ending a three-game losing streak with a 99-89 victory over Western Conference-worst New Orleans on Thursday.

They had dropped the first two games of the trip versus San Antonio and Dallas, but shot 52.0 percent against the Hornets and outscored them 27-6 on the fast break.

John Wall scored 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting and handed out 12 assists. Washington led by as many as 16 points, but needed a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter to seal its first road win in seven games.

''Everybody stepped up and we got a good team win,'' Wall said. ''Lately, we've been playing as a team and playing hard. When (we) do that, we give ourselves a chance.''

Washington traded guard Nick Young and centers JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf to Denver as part of a three-team deal on Thursday. The Wizards acquired talented, but oft-injured big man Nene from Denver as well as Brian Cook from the Clippers.

Nene was averaging 13.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in an injury-plagued season.

"Nene is a versatile player who will bring experience and a physical presence to our frontcourt,'' Washington general manager Ernie Grunfeld said. "His veteran leadership and postseason experience will be a positive influence in our locker room."

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