Good teams in the NBA bounce back from tough losses, the theory goes.Monday's win at Washington was a much needed dose of positive energy for the Hawks, who lost a heartbreaker at home to Cleveland on Sunday night and have two more games to play on their road trip this week.
They play at New York Wednesday and at Charlotte Friday before returning home to face Detroit Saturday in the kickoff game of a crucial seven-game homestand.
"This game here was just as important as the one (Sunday night)," Joe Johnson said. "For us to come out and work hard in spite of everything we've been through was big for us. This win was big. Every win we got from here on out is big for us."
Take care of business on the road this week and then dig in during that home stand, and the Hawks can shore up their playoff position by the end of the month.
"I like the way the guys in our locker room responded," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said of the performance against the Wizards. "That was a tough game we lost to Cleveland. That's the kind of game that can sit with you for a few days if you're not careful. Then you toss in our travel troubles and it can really snowball on you. We didn't let that happen. Marvin was great and the rest of our guys were right there when we needed them to be."
If they stumble on this trip, though, they'll be under pressure to make up for it during that homestand.
At 34-26 the Hawks still have to fend off Miami for the fourth spot, and a coveted home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, in the Eastern Conference standings.
HAWKS 98, WIZARDS 89: Marvin Williams didn't get the five extra minutes he wanted against Cleveland Sunday night.
So he had to settle for the next best thing, 48 minutes against Washington Monday. And he made the most of it, leading the Hawks to the win at Verizon Center with 28 points.
Williams and the Hawks lost on a LeBron James free throw with 1.6 seconds to play Sunday night. It was a controversial finish to a game the Hawks controlled in the fourth quarter but couldn't close.
They had no such issues with the lowly Wizards, who battled valiantly without their emotional leader Caron Butler (hamstring) in the lineup.
Williams, who would normally be matched up against Butler, took advantage of his absence.
He struck from all over, making three of his six shots from beyond the 3-point line while playing efficiently all night long.
Al Horford did as much damage inside as Williams did outside. He, too, was still smarting from Sunday's finish. He was called for the foul that led to the game-winning free throw by James.
Horford made 7 of 12 shots from the floor, finishing his night with 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
He and Williams led five Hawks in double figures. Joe Johnson finished with 16 points, 13 assists and six rebounds. Josh Smith added 13 points, five rebounds and two blocks. And Zaza Pachulia chipped in with 10 points and five rebounds off the bench.