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Dave Johnson: Hawks Hand Wizards 5th Loss In A Row

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Dave Johnson: Hawks Hand Wizards 5th Loss In A Row

Thursday, March 11, 2010 9:49pm

Hawks vs. Wizards Game Highlights & Postgame

By Dave Johnson
CSNwashington.comWashington----The Washington Wizards are just hurting themselves. Thirty points from Andray Blatche and a career night from JaVale McGee were canceled out by turnovers in a 105-99 loss to the Atlanta Hawks to extend the Wizards losing streak to five games.While the Wizards did so many things well, they could not control Jamal Crawford who came off the bench to lead the Hawks with a game-high 29-points and further his case to be the NBAs Sixth Man of the Year.The Wizards shot 49 percent from the field and dominated the Hawks on the boards where they had a 42-29 advantage in rebounds. It didnt matter because the Wizards committed 21 turnovers that led to 32 of the Hawks points.You cant turn the ball over as many times as we did tonight against a team that has won as many games as Atlanta has this year, said Wizards guard Mike Miller. The way Atlanta gets out in the open court and how athletic they are puts a lot of pressure on your defense. Atlanta forced us to make some bad passes which they capitalized on.Indeed the Hawks were effective in denying the passing lanes and at times the Wizards struggled to make the first entry pass to start their offense. In addition Blatche, often dealing with two defenders, committed seven of the Wizards turnovers.Still it was Blatche and McGee who led an inside game that helped compensate for the Wizards miscues. To go with Blatches 30-points, McGee had a career high 20-points including eight dunks to match Orlandos Dwight Howard for most dunks in an NBA game this season.Ive seen a lot of enthusiasm out of him, Blatche said of McGee. Hes working hard. Hes improving. I see him in the gym, getting extra shots, getting extra moves done, in the weight room. All of his hard work is starting to pay off for him. Further amplifying the work of Blatche and McGee is the fact that the Atlanta Hawks are ranked fourth in the NBA in paint scores. Instead the Wizards had the 48-36 advantage in points in the paint and a 26-11 advantage in second chance points.In fact the Wizards work on the boards saved them and had them locked in a competitive game until the Hawks composure on offense prevailed. At the end of the third quarter the Hawks went on a 13-3 run to build a twelve point lead at 85-73 with 10:12 left in the fourth quarter.Like they did in Tuesdays turnover-plagued loss to Houston, the Wizards showed a fight and determination down the stretch. With 1:21 remaining Blatche was able to drive around the Hawks Josh Smith to bring the Wizards to within six points at 101-95.The Wizards then got the stop and rebound they needed and Miller found McGee in transition for his eighth slam dunk of the night. Miller, who only took eight shots, had seven assists and now the Wizards only trailed 101-97 with 54-seconds left.Again the Wizards tightened on defense and snared the rebound on a missed Joe Johnson jump shot near the end of the twenty-four second clock, but were unable to push the ball up the floor because of an inadvertent whistle.Instead the Hawks defense was able to get set and the Wizards received the ball with 30.7-seconds left in the game. From the block Blatche then backed down Smith before turning to the baseline, but his jumper didnt go and Smith grabbed the rebound effectively ending the Wizards final push.So for the Wizards it is not about commitment. It is about execution. The Wizards are competitive despite wasted possessions but have to be better to get back in the win column.The former team had a lot more veteran guys and I think they were struggling a little bit, but now they are rejuvenated, noted the Hawks Joe Johnson. They have a bunch of guys trying to find their way in the league. Blatche has been giving All-Star numbers since the break and I was just trying to keep up with him. The Wizards play at Detroit on Friday. Earl Boykins will see playing time after sitting out the game against the Hawks. The Wizards are trying to manage players with three games in three night.

Check out Bob Youngentob's Hawks vs. Wizards photo gallery here

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Need to Know: Redskins stock watch—Three up, three down

Need to Know: Redskins stock watch—Three up, three down

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, June 22, 34 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins stock watch: Three up, three down

For some Redskins players, the outlook looks much brighter now than it did when last season ended. Others have seen their stocks decline. Here is a look at three players in each category.

Stock up

CB Quinton Dunbar—His rise started the day after the season ended when he signed a three-year, $10.5 million contract. It continued when the departures of Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland opened up more opportunity at his position. Then the only additions at corner were veteran Orlando Scandrick and seventh-round pick Greg Stroman. Dunbar has a clear path to a starting job, perhaps for the next few years. 

G Shawn Lauvao—At the end of the season, he was coming off of injured reserve. It was the second time in his four seasons in Washington that he finished the season on the sideline. He turned 30 last year and as the prime weeks of free agency passed he didn’t get much attention. His fortunes started to turn when the team didn’t sign or draft a guard. Then on May 4 when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with Washington. Shortly after that Arie Kouandjio, his primary competition at left guard, was lost for the season with a quad injury. While there is no guarantee that the Redskins won’t look at other options at left guard, for right now it’s Lauvao’s job to lose. 

S Montae Nicholson—It was hard to make much out of his rookie 2017 season as he spent half of it on the sideline with injuries. But early in the offseason, Jay Gruden said that Nicholson was as important to the defense as Jordan Reed is to the offense. Given that Reed has made one Pro Bowl on his resume and could get more if he stays healthy and that his presence on the field tends to lift his teammates, that’s high praise. It means that Nicholson is at the top of the depth chart in Sharpie. He still needs to stay healthy but he is not a player who is at risk of losing his job due to an injury. 

Stock down

RB Rob Kelley—This one of pretty obvious. He finished the year on injured reserve and a couple of the running backs signed as injury replacements, Kapri Bibbs and Byron Marshall, looked pretty good. Then came the draft and Derrius Guice as the second-round pick. Right now, he looks like the No. 4 back and he will have to fight hard to keep a roster spot. 

DL Ziggy Hood—Most expected the Redskins to draft a nose tackle early and that’s what happened when they took Daron Payne in the first round. That didn’t hurt Hood’s stock much. But they followed up by taking Tim Settle later in the draft and that made the depth chart very crowded. Hood is the seventh D-lineman and they usually only keep six. Even if he makes it he could spend a lot of time on the game-day inactive list. 

S Deshazor Everett—Nobody expected the Redskins to draft a safety, but they found the speed and athleticism of Troy Apke too attractive to turn down in the fourth round of the draft. The rookie needs some work on his game, so it appears that Everett, who started eight games last year, will be the first safety off of the bench early in the season. But it’s likely that they will want to get Apke in games as soon as he’s ready and that could leave Everett on the bench. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline 

Former Redskins Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey was born on this date in 1978. 

Days until:

—Training camp starts (7/26) 34
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 48
—Roster cut to 53 (9/1) 71

The Redskins last played a game 173 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 79 days. 

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

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USA TODAY Sports

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Breaking down the Wizards' 2018 draft class

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller analyze the Wizards' two picks the night of the draft.

They went in-depth on first round pick Troy Brown, Jr. and why the Wizards took him when some big names were still on the board. They also broke down why the Wizards chose to pick a draft-and-stash guy in the second round.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!