A trip to the nation's capital might help the Atlanta Hawks bounce back from their latest disappointing loss.Mired in a slump, the Hawks look to sweep the season series from the lowly Washington Wizards for the first time in 11 years Monday night.
Atlanta (33-26) lost 88-87 at home to the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. The Hawks rallied from a 13-point deficit, but then squandered a five-point lead in the final 1:42. LeBron James' free throw with 1.6 seconds left sent Atlanta to its fifth loss in seven games.
"We kind of have another chance. We have Washington (Monday) night, so we have to focus in there," said Hawks forward Marvin Williams, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds. "So we have to come ready to play."
Atlanta - still holding on to the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs - should have little trouble regaining its confidence against Washington (14-45) - owner of the East's worst record.
The Hawks are looking for their fifth straight victory over the Wizards and first series sweep of them since winning all four contests during the 1997-98 season. Atlanta has also won three in a row at Washington, including a 102-98 victory Nov. 29.
Joe Johnson, who had 22 points, eight assists and six rebounds in Atlanta's 111-90 home win over Washington on Feb. 10 - the teams' most recent contest - scored 21 points against the Cavaliers on Sunday.
Atlanta, though, shot 41.9 percent against Cleveland and was held below 95 points for the third time in four games.
After a pair of home games - including a 91-83 win over Miami on Friday - the Hawks hit the road looking to avoid a fourth straight loss away from Philips Arena. Atlanta, 13-19 away from home, has allowed an average of 108.7 points in losing its last three road contests at Portland, Utah and Denver.
The Hawks will look to turn things around with another strong defensive effort against Washington, one of the NBA's lowest-scoring teams averaging 94.8 points per game.
One night after a 113-90 home win over Chicago with President Obama watching from the stands, Washington didn't seem to carry over any momentum and lost 109-93 at Milwaukee on Saturday.
Antawn Jamison had 21 points with 14 rebounds and Caron Butler added 19 points for the Wizards, who allowed the Bucks to shoot 52 percent from the field, including 11 of 19 from 3-point range.
"It isn't about the energy of playing in front of the president. It was the energy that we played with (Friday) period that helped us win that game," Wizards guard Mike James said. "We had to at least come out and play with a sense of urgency. We didn't."
Jamison, who has four double-doubles in his last six games, had 26 points and 13 rebounds against Atlanta in the teams' November meeting in Washington. He is averaging 23 points and 12.3 rebounds in his last seven contests versus the Hawks.