Martell Webster ran off the court at Philips Arena thinking that he had delivered the Wizards’ first victory on Nov. 21, when his rebound put-back appeared to give his team a 102-101 overtime win over the Atlanta Hawks. A few minutes later, officials ruled that Webster’s shot came after time expired and the Wizards had to leave town with their 10th consecutive loss.
Webster and the Wizards will have an opportunity to produce a different outcome as they face the Hawks for the second time this season on Friday on the same floor.
“It was one of those learning experiences and I think it’s helped us here recently, being in tight games and having to make plays down the stretch and doing the things it takes to win,” Coach Randy Wittman said. “I don’t think there’s an effect from that game. It’s fresh in our minds and we know what we have to do tonight. We just played them basically two weeks ago and their shouldn’t be any surprises for us.”
With Trevor Ariza out with a strained left calf, Webster will also get his first start of the season. Webster scored 13 points in the Wizards’ 105-101 upset of the Miami Heat and has been one of the more reliable players off the bench for most of the season.
“We’ve got to do what we have to do,” Wittman said. “Other guys will have an opportunity. I always tell the guys you never know when your time is going to come. If you’re not in the rotation when it comes, make sure you’re ready. I feel very confident. We’re going to miss Trevor’s ability to defend multiple positions and deflections and passing lanes and the things that he brings to us and we’re going to miss that but we have an opportunity for other guys to step up.”
Atlanta-area native Chris Singleton will remain in the starting lineup, along with Bradley Beal, Emeka Okafor and A.J. Price.
Pre-game reading material: Ernie Grunfeld is looking at the “big picture”| Wizards remain uncertain about John Wall’s return| Kevin Seraphin needs to get to the foul line| Trevor Ariza will be out for “some time” with left calf strain| Wizards are feeling good after tweaking offense|
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Tipoff: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Comcast SportsNet
Radio: 106.7 (WJFK FM)