After suffering for almost a month without a win, the Washington Wizards have enjoyed some success lately. Based on their most recent visit to Atlanta, they now might have a good chance to end another pair of droughts.
The Wizards look for the first victory away from home and try to avoid a 10th straight road defeat to the Hawks on Friday night.
Washington (2-13) opened with a franchise-record 12 consecutive losses but has since won two of three - both at home.
The most recent victory was particularly surprising, beating Miami 105-101 on Tuesday to end the defending champion's six-game win streak. Jordan Crawford scored 22 points and Kevin Seraphin added 16 with 10 rebounds for the Wizards, who matched a season high by shooting 48.1 percent and never trailed in the final three quarters.
"It's a big momentum win for us, obviously," point guard Shaun Livingston said. "We've been struggling to put together four quarters."
Though the Wizards still own the NBA's worst record, average a league-low 90.4 points and are not sure when injured star John Wall (knee) will make his season debut, their recent progress has been a long time coming as far as the team is concerned.
"It basically just shows how good of a team we are, how good we can be. That's the main thing," said Crawford, averaging 19.3 points in four games since being moved back into a reserve role.
The next step for Washington is to find success on the road, where at 0-7 it joins Sacramento as the NBA's only winless teams away from home. However, four of those losses have been by six points or fewer and two went to overtime, including a 101-100 defeat in Atlanta on Nov. 21.
The Hawks took the lead with 1.9 seconds left in overtime on Kyle Korver's long 3-pointer, but the Wizards thought they earned their first win when Martell Webster made a layup as the buzzer sounded. One official initially ruled the basket was good, but the crew conferred and ruled it was late, a call that was later confirmed by video review.
Washington lost its previous eight visits to Atlanta by an average of 13.0 points. The Wizards last won there Jan. 11, 2008, going 1-16 overall against the Hawks since that victory.
Seraphin had a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds in last month's matchup and enters Friday having posted three straight double-doubles.
Teammate Trevor Ariza had his only double-double of the season in that game with 12 points and 15 boards off the bench, but he is likely to miss this one with a calf injury.
Korver could return for Atlanta (10-5), which has won seven of eight, after missing one contest due to back spasms and Wednesday's home game versus Denver with his wife about to give birth.
While Atlanta allowed 100 points in consecutive games for the first time this season, it made some key stops down the stretch to bounce back from a 113-111 home loss to Cleveland last Friday.
"Hopefully we can just build from this game," coach Larry Drew said. "I'm just happy that we pushed through it. The difference was we kept pushing. We didn't break. We didn't bend."
Smith, who turned 27 on Wednesday, has averaged 22.0 points and 11.3 rebounds in his last six games versus Washington.