Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) is fouled by Atlanta Hawks guard Jeff Teague (0) during the first half of an NBA basketball basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, in Atlanta. Washington won 114-97. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Mike Budenholzer insists he doesn’t look at the standings.
It’s a good thing because the Hawks coach would see his team free-falling down the NBA rankings.
The Hawks fell to sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 114-97 loss to the Wizards, their seventh straight defeat, Wednesday night at Philips Arena. The Wizards are now a half-game ahead of the Hawks in the conference.
The Hawks (25-28, 16-10 home) last lost seven straight nearly seven years ago – March 21-April 4, 2007. The Wizards snapped an 11-game losing streak to the Hawks in Atlanta.
The injury-depleted Hawks, who started with nine healthy players, lost Jeff Teague to a left ankle sprain in the fourth quarter.
When it rains, it pours.
Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Elton Brand added a season-high 20 points and 11 rebounds. Teague (16), Lou Williams (14) and Kyle Korver (10) scored in double-figures. Korver extended his NBA-record streak to 122 games with a 3-pointer.
The Wizards (26-28, 13-14 road) had a three-game losing streak snapped and won for just the second time in seven games. John Wall had 21 points and 12 assists. Trevor Ariza and Bradley Beal each added 19 points.
The Hawks never led in the game. They trailed by as many as 20 points and cut the deficit to one point in the third quarter. That is as close as they would get.
The Hawks stormed out of the intermission, after trailing by 11 points, with a 36-point third quarter. They cut what had been a 20-point deficit to one point, with 6:23 remaining in the period, on a basket by Millsap. The Wizards would take a 91-83 lead into the final quarter with 3-pointers by Martell Webster and Ariza, who connected from 75 feet away at the buzzer. Millsap had 12, Brand 10 and Teague seven points in the third-quarter rally.
The Hawks stumbled out of the gate again. The Wizards led by 17 points in the first quarter as the Hawks shot a dismal 29 percent (7 of 24) from the field. By midway through the second quarter the Wizards led by 20 points. Just a night earlier, against the Pacers, the Hawks faced first- and third-quarter deficits of more than 20 points.
The Hawks rallied with a 9-2 run to end the first half and trailed at the intermission 58-47.
Roy Simmons visited such quiet, dark, lonely depths that you had to wonder if he ever saw blue sky. Only pages into the book he wrote in 2006 — “Out of Bounds: Coming out of Sexual Abuse, Addiction and My Life of Lies in the NFL Closet” — he took the reader to the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge.