The Atlanta Hawks get a short break from the heavyweight portion of their schedule when they visit the struggling Washington Wizards on Friday night.
The Hawks have lost two of their last three games, but likely aren't discouraged after having been beaten on the road by Milwaukee before defeating the Los Angeles Clippers and taking Brooklyn to overtime in a home loss Wednesday.
Atlanta returns home after a one-night jaunt to Washington, only to have the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas, Utah and Toronto lined up on a powerful homestand.
The Hawks almost made it two straight wins, but eventually got overpowered by Brooklyn's Kevin Durant (32 points), James Harden (31) and Kyrie Irving (26) in the 132-128 loss.
One reason the Hawks were able to keep pace was the return of Cam Reddish from a sore right Achilles. He had a season-high 24 points, complementing Trae Young's 28.
"We needed what he brought tonight," Hawks coach Lloyd Pierce noted afterward of Reddish. "I thought he played solid. I thought he had an ability to get by guys and he did that. Defensively, he's always been a guy that we want to try and use on some of their elite players."
Reddish was available when the Wizards selected Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 draft. Reddish went next to the Hawks.
Neither has disappointed.
Reddish has improved from 10.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season to 12.7 and 4.8, respectively, this year. He has put up 20 or more points in three of his last six games, and four overall.
Meanwhile, Hachimura ranked among the leading rookie scorers last season at 13.5 points per game and was off to a similar start this year (13.6) before getting entangled in the Wizards' COVID-19 issues. He is expected to be available for Friday's game, though, after missing the last three while in COVID-19 protocols. Also expected back for Washington after missing three games are Davis Bertans and Moritz Wagner.
Hachimura, who has averaged 13.6 points this season, has scored in double figures in all but one of his seven games. The Wizards went 3-3 in those contests.
The club has yet to win without their second-year prospect, going 0-4 to start the season while he was dealing with conjunctivitis in his eyes and currently losers of three straight while he's been on COVID-19 watch.
They expect Russell Westbrook to face the Hawks after he was rested during Wednesday's 124-106 loss at New Orleans.
Bradley Beal exploded for 47 points in the loss, then exploded verbally after the short-handed club's 11th defeat in 14 games.
"I'm mad about losing," he said. "I just hate losing. I hate losing. And I am going to continue to show (angry) faces. I try to control them as much as I can, but I don't like losing."
The Wizards won two of three from the Hawks last season, with the lone loss stealing the spotlight from the two wins. Young outgunned Beal 45-40 in that one, pushing the Hawks to a 152-133 home win.
Young and Beal each missed one of the other two meetings. All three games last year were won by the home team.
--Field Level Media
(Field Level Media)