Wizards vs. Hawks Preview: Get to know the sneaky-good Atlanta Hawks

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

If the Wizards want to get a win before Thanksgiving, they'll need to get through Lou Williams and the Hawks to do it.

The Atlanta Hawks' 5-4 record may not scream contender, but the Hawks have done quite well for themselves this season. So far their only losses are on the road to the Clippers and Warriors, and close home losses to Houston and Miami. Going off expected winning percentage, the Hawks are a top-10 team at this point in the season, even after trading Joe Johnson to Brooklyn.

Where, When, and What Channel: The game will start at 7:30 p.m. at Philips Arena. You can watch it on Comcast SportsNet.

Why You Should Care: This is the Wizards' last chance to get a win before Thanksgiving. Also, we might get the see Nene for the first time tonight (fingers crossed).

What They Do Well: On Monday, the Wizards faced the best defense in the NBA against the Pacers. Tonight, they face the second best defense in the league. The Hawks have excelled this season at limiting three-pointers. You wouldn't expect that from a team using Jeff Teague, Lou Williams and Kyle Korver in the backcourt, but they've been getting the job done. Only Dallas is holding teams to a lower percentage this season. They also shut teams down by forcing turnovers at the best rate in the NBA (17 percent), thanks in big part to Teague and Williams. If the Wizards want to have success tonight, they'll have to find a way to be effective on those long twos.

What They Do Poorly: You would think with the shooting percentages that the Hawks put up that they'd be an above-average team offensively, but that's not the case. Right now, they're 25th in the NBA offensively and a big part of the reason why is the Hawks' inability to get to the free throw line. Lou Williams and John Jenkins are the only two Hawks averaging more than four free throw attempts per 36 minutes. To give you an idea of just how bad they're struggling to get to the line, they're averaging the same free throws to field goals attempted ratio as the Wizards.

How the Wizards Match Up With Them: This one shapes up to be a lot like the games we saw against Indiana. Expect to see another slow-paced, offensively challenged, 90's style game. If the Wizards can get some lucky bounces on threes, they might have a shot, but either way, the final score will probably make it look like a close one, even if Atlanta thoroughly outplays them tonight.

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