The Wizards kick off a stretch of four games in five nights Tuesday at Verizon Center with their third meeting of the year against the Atlanta Hawks. To see a team so frequently in the first 22 games of a season breeds familiarity, which Coach Randy Wittman hopes can help push the Wizards to their first win over Atlanta this year.
Washington fell to the Hawks 101-100 in overtime on Nov. 21 and 104-95 on Dec. 7, but from a scouting standpoint Wittman said not much has changed.
“They’ve gotten off to a good start, they’ve not tweaked or done too much to how they’ve played the first quarter of the season. That’s a good thing for us,” Wittman said. “We’ve been right there both games. I think that should be a good thing in our guys’ minds in [knowing] what we have to do against this team to win.”
The Wizards will have Nene, who sat out the Dec. 15 loss at Miami with a sore left foot, back in the fold against Atlanta. The big man appeared in both previous games against the Hawks, recording 12 points in each despite limited minutes.
In other injury news, Wittman said that Trevor Ariza is making progress as he recovers from a strained left calf muscle. Tuesday’s tilt with Atlanta marks the seventh game Ariza has missed with the injury.
“Ariza’s getting better. Moving in the right direction,” Wittman said, tempering expectations for when the forward might return to the lineup. “With four games in five nights, don’t know if we’ll see him in this particular stretch. With that injury you want to get him out on the practice floor let him run and see where he is, just don’t throw him out here on a game day….But he’s doing more things, shooting on the floor now, able to do a little jogging so he’s really progressing well.”
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Tipoff: 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 106.7 (WJFK FM)