The Washington Post
11:47 PM EST, December 28, 2011
— John Wall was dribbling up the court at a frenetic pace, with defenders backpedaling helplessly and teammates gasping to catch up. Wall whirled the ball behind his back to juke Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague and open what appeared to be a clear lane to the basket.
But as Wall elevated for a dunk, Hawks forward Josh Smith tracked him down, smashing his shot attempt and sending Wall crashing to the floor. Wall rolled on the ground, holding the back of his head and grimacing.
After a disappointing loss in their season opener, the Wizards were hoping to bounce back with a better, more sustained effort. But they didn't have the best opponent for that, as the Hawks spent an entire night pushing them back and knocking them down.
The Wizards trailed wire-to-wire and never seriously threatened during a 101-83 loss at Philips Arena. They also opened at 0-2 for the second season in a row.
Nick Young again led the team with 21 points off the bench, and Wall added 20 points and six assists, but after falling behind 11-0, the Wizards could never find a way to keep up with a veteran, playoff-tested team. Two nights after blowing a 21-point lead to the New Jersey Nets, the Wizards found themselves trailing by the same deficit after three quarters.
Andray Blatche was upset about the way he was used against the Nets, complaining to reporters and later on Twitter about not getting enough touches in the low post. So, on the first play of the game, Wall tried to get the ball inside, but Hawks forward Marvin Williams jumped the bounce pass and intercepted, leading a fast break that ended with Williams scoring on the other end.
Blatche's next field-goal attempt was a 21-foot jumper that hit the back of the rim. He then got the ball in the low post and backed down Smith, only to have Williams come from behind to block it.
Blatche struggled from the floor most of the night, missing his first seven shots, before finally making his first field goal — a baseline jumper — in the third quarter. Blatche finished with just four points on 2-for-13 shooting and never appeared to be in the game. He couldn't score and had trouble on the defensive end.
Jordan Crawford was back in the place he called home for the first half of his rookie season, but the return was far from welcoming. Crawford was forced to contend with All-Star Joe Johnson, whom he backed up sparingly while playing for the Hawks. Johnson dominated Crawford and held him to just one point — his lowest scoring output in his 20 NBA starts, all with the Wizards.
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