WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Wizards have lost games every way possible this season. With 19 losses in 22 games, and four rotation players missing, the Wizards can still stay close in most games.
On Tuesday night, Washington took a team to overtime for the fourth time this season - and lost yet again.
Lou Williams scored a season-high 24 points and Josh Smith had 17 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 100-95 overtime win over the Wizards.
Most of Washington's losses this season have been close. Just four have been by more than 10 points.
Coach Randy Wittman, who on Monday wondered if an exorcist could come into the Verizon Center, admitted to questioning nearly everything in his world.
``I look up every morning to make sure the sky is up there - that it's not falling in on me,' Wittman said.
He took to snapping at fans who chided him for removing Nene from the game during overtime. Nene has been hampered by a left foot injury, and he's playing limited minutes. Wittman has tried to limit him to 20 minutes. On Tuesday, he played 24, but that didn't satisfy the crowd.
``I had fans heckling me,' Wittman said. ``They're killing me. I had to turn around and say something to them today.'
Kyle Korver had 16 points and Jeff Teague added 13 as Atlanta (15-7) won for the third time in three meetings with the Wizards (3-19) this season.
Jordan Crawford had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the Wizards. It was Washington's first triple-double since Crawford had one on Apr. 1, 2011. Nene scored 18 points, Bradley Beal had 17 and Martell Webster 11.
``The way we play you would think giving ourselves a fighting chance in all these games, that record should be flipped,' Webster said.
After Washington took a 93-92 lead on a jumper by Earl Barron with 3:05 to play in overtime, the Hawks scored six straight points to go up five with 1:29 to play.
``It's always little things we mess up on,' Barron said.
Williams hit one of two free throws to tie the score, and DeShawn Stevenson hit a 3-pointer with 2:08 left to put Atlanta back ahead for good, 96-93. After he made the shot, the former Wizard turned toward the booing crowd, waving his hand in front of his face.
``A lot of people was talking smack, so I had to bring it out,' Stevenson said.
``I'm not worried about Washington, beating them. I think we've got a good thing going, and that was a big win.'
Originally coach Larry Drew wanted to rest Stevenson since the Hawks were beginning a stretch of four games in five nights, but Devin Harris suffered a foot injury in the first half and didn't return.
``I had no choice but to play DeShawn,' Drew said. ``And I'll you what, he really stepped it up big time for me. His presence was felt immediately.'
Stevenson and Al Horford each made 1 of 2 free throws, and Crawford hit a jumper with 48 seconds left to pull Washington to 98-95.
Nene had a jumper blocked by Smith with 9 seconds to play, and Korver made two free throws to cap the scoring.
Barron scored his first basket of the game with 23 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 90. He missed his previous eight field goals.
With the score tied at 58-all, Beal went up for a dunk. Smith blocked it, and Beal fell hard to the floor, stayed motionless for a few moments and left the game with 5:29 to play in the third quarter. A minute later, Beal left the floor with trainer Eric Waters.
Without Beal, the Hawks ran off a quick seven straight points on a 3-pointer and a dunk by Teague and another dunk by Smith. Beal returned to the bench a few minutes later. After three quarters, Atlanta led 72-69.
The Hawks led through nearly the entire first half with a 52-46 advantage at halftime. Beal was 6 for 7 from the field and had 12 points in the opening half.
Williams had 16 of his 24 points in the second half.
``We didn't play with a lot of energy, so I just wanted to be aggressive any time I had the ball,' Williams said.
NOTES: Stevenson made a dunk late in the third quarter. His previous 25 baskets had been 3-pointers. His last 2-pointer came nine games ago on Nov. 21 against the Wizards. ... Atlanta G Anthony Morrow missed his second straight game with a sore back. ... Washington F Trevor Ariza, who has missed the last seven games with a sore left calf is improving, Wittman said, and he hopes to have him back next week. ... The Hawks host Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The Thunder are 20-4 and have won 11 straight games.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved