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News » Wizards-Hawks Preview 2009-02-09

Wizards-Hawks Preview 2009-02-09

Wizards-Hawks Preview 2009-02-09
Atlanta Hawks point guard Mike Bibby was on a nice scoring run before injuring his foot. A matchup with the Washington Wizards should give him an excellent chance to get back on track.

The Hawks, coming off a loss without Bibby, hope to have their floor leader back when they face the lowly Wizards on Tuesday night.

Bibby missed his first game of the season Saturday night, and Atlanta (29-21) lost 121-97 to the Los Angeles Clippers in a lackluster effort.

Judging by the poor effort without him, the Hawks can only hope Bibby returns Tuesday.

"Only time will tell," coach Mike Woodson said. "Bibby's a big part of what we do."

Bibby has a sore foot, an injury suffered in a loss at Charlotte on Friday night. He finished with 15 points in that game after scoring 20 or more in his previous three contests.

The veteran has always been a consistent scorer - he's second on the team this season at 16.1 points per game - but he's been particularly good in recent years against Washington (11-40). Bibby is averaging 24.8 points while shooting 55.7 percent from the field and 53.6 percent from 3-point range in his last four games versus the Wizards.

Washington doesn't seem to be in any condition to slow him down this time, either. The Wizards have allowed an average of 117.3 points in their last four games, and 102.4 on the season.

Washington will also have to contend with Atlanta leading scorer Joe Johnson, who returned Saturday after missing two games with the flu. The All-Star guard had 17 points, but shot 6-for-15 and committed three turnovers.

Johnson shot 35.0 percent in Atlanta's two games against the Wizards this season, but averaged 18.5 points to help the Hawks win both matchups.

Wizards star Caron Butler also missed two games with the flu, but shook off the fatigue to lead Washington to a 119-117 win over Indiana on Sunday night. He scored 15 straight points, including a winning 18-footer at the buzzer.

Butler had 17 points in the fourth quarter and matched a season high with 35.

The Wizards, who had lost their previous three, have the Eastern Conference's worst record.

"The players have been working very hard and they need to see some success to give additional meaning to their hard work," Washington interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "When you win you also teach so that you enforce the team values that allowed you to win, and that helps us a lot."

The Wizards could get a boost in the frontcourt Tuesday. Center Andray Blatche, who has missed seven straight games with an injured left knee, dressed for Sunday's matchup but Tapscott said he wasn't ready to play.

Blatche has played in 44 games - 23 starts - and is averaging 10.1 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Getting Blatche back would also help Washington's depth, which has suffered due to injuries. The Wizards, though, got a strong performance from backup swingman Nick Young against the Pacers. In his second year after being drafted 16th overall in 2007, Young had 20 points and is averaging 19.2 in his last five games.

"It's very critical for us to have someone come off the bench and add some offensive life to the game," Tapscott said.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: February 9, 2009


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