The winless Washington Wizards aim to snap their worst start in franchise history on Wednesday evening as they take on the refreshed Atlanta Hawks.
The Wizards have come up empty in their first nine games this season, including an 0-5 mark on the road, to surpass their previous worst beginning to a season of eight straight losses to open the 2011-12 campaign.
Still without the top overall pick of the 2010 draft, John Wall, and center Nene, Washington missed 14 of its first 16 shots on Monday against the Indiana Pacers and trailed 26-7 with under three minutes to play in the first. Though the Wizards cut a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter to just one with 3 1/2 minutes to play, the rally fell short in a 96-89 loss.
"It was the same story," said center Kevin Seraphin, who had 13 points. "In the beginning of the game we have a bad start and then we have to fight all game to come back. But that's difficult, because this is the NBA. That's a league with no mercy."
Bradley Beal scored 17 of his team-leading 18 points in the second half and the third overall pick of the 2012 draft liked the fight his club showed.
"The thing I like most about this team is that we fight and compete. We might get down but we always keep fighting and don't quit. It's really frustrating now but eventually that will turn into wins," stated the rookie.
The Hawks returned home from a four-game road trip on Monday and escaped with an 81-72 win over the Orlando Magic, who were playing the back end of games on consecutive days.
Al Horford led all scorers with 15 points and Lou Williams had 14 points off the bench for the Hawks, who have won two straight and three of four.
"I think we were just sluggish in general," said Horford. "They were too. You looked around -- they had a back-to-back. I think the game in general was just an ugly game, but we're happy to get the win."
Zaza Pachulia had eight points and 11 rebounds for an Atlanta club that scored 24 points off 19 Magic turnovers. The Hawks lead the NBA with 18.1 turnovers forced per game.
"We got a lot of stops. I think we did a lot of good things on the defensive end," Williams said. "Collectively, we forced some turnovers and were able to score off those turnovers."
Atlanta won all three of its meetings with Washington a season ago and has taken 15 of the past 16 encounters overall. That includes eight in a row as the host and the Hawks haven't lost at home to the Wizards since Jan. 11, 2008.