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Wizards at Hawks preview: Washington looks to get back to .500 on Monday

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Wizards are riding a four-game winning streak and are just 1.5 games back from the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. While a win is a win when it comes to making the playoffs, the way the Wizards have been winning doesn't always inspire confidence. During the win streak, they beat the Philadelphia 76ers, for example, by just five points this past Thursday.

Anyway, the Wizards will now play two consecutive against the Hawks. First, they will at Phillips Arena on Monday and then in the Verizon Center on Wednesday. The last time these two teams met was in Atlanta on November 11th, when the Wizards fell apart when it mattered and the Hawks breezed to a 114-99 victory.

The Hawks, despite their 41-29 record, are having a little bit of a disappointing season. Though they can still beat anyone (non-Warriors division) on any given night, they have rarely shown the sort of dominance that led them to 60 wins last year. While the offense has taken a step back, the defense is still ferocious.

The Hawks allow just 99.3 points per 100 possessions (only the Spurs are better). They commit very few fouls, and their opponents shoot just 43 percent from the field and 33 percent from three. They currently sit at third in the East and are riding a five-game win streak.

Game Info

When: Monday, March 21, at 8:00 p.m.
Where: Phillips Arena in Atlanta, GA.
TV: CSN Washington and Fox Sports Southeast.
Radio: WNEW 99.1 in the District and 92.2 "The Game" in Atlanta.

Injury Report

The Wizards are in the unusual position (this season) of having everyone expected to be available.

Tiago Splitter is out for the Hawks.

Keys to the Game

The Hawks (like the Wizards) are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. However, with the addition of Markieff Morris, some above-average rebounding from Otto Porter and Bradley Beal on the wing, and John Wall’s new taste for triple-doubles, the Wizard should be able to secure an advantage on the boards tonight.

Forcing Turnovers

The Wizards are bad at scoring in the half court. But they excel in transition, and they are very good at forcing turnovers (fifth best per 100 possessions). Meanwhile, the Hawks are pretty bad at hanging onto the ball (tenth worst per 100 possessions). If the Wizards can get extra possessions through rebounding and forced turnovers, that may be enough to help them overcome the Hawks’ stingy defense.

Most Likely Wizard Killer: Kris Humphries

Because no other outcome would be as frustrating, right?

The Wizards traded Humphries to the Suns as part of the deal for Morris. The Suns cut Humphries, who signed with the Hawks and is playing quite well, according to Kris Willis of Peachtree Hoops. I predict he goes 6-8 from three and grabs at least two crucial rebounds.

All data from and current as of March 20, 2016 at 6 p.m.