for this game

Williams, Hawks outlast Wizards

Mar 3, 2009 - 3:50 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- A visit to the Eastern Conference's worst team is just what the Atlanta Hawks needed to get back on track.

Marvin Williams scored 28 points to help the Hawks register a 98-89 win over a shorthanded Washington Wizards team on Monday.

Joe Johnson added 16 points and 13 assists while Al Horford contributed 16 and eight rebounds for Atlanta, which won for just the second time in its last six games.

"This game was huge for us," Williams said. "If we can get a couple more wins with the season winding down, we can end up in a good position."

Antawn Jamison collected 23 points and nine rebounds to pace Washington, which was without Caron Butler because of tightness in his left hamstring.

"I just found out tonight - they said it was going to be a game-time decision, and he came in after warm-ups and said it was tight," Washington interim coach Ed Tapscott said.

The Wizards hung tough without their second leading scorer, trailing just 46-45 at halftime before running out of gas in the final 24 minutes.

"We came out a little sluggish in the first half, but later we were able to pick up our intensity," Johnson said. "We all knew how important this game was, so we knew we had to come out with a win."

With the score tied at 61-61, Williams scored six points during a 14-2 spurt - bridging the third and fourth quarters - that gave the Hawks their first season sweep of the Wizards since the 1997-98 season.

Because of flight problems due to a snowstorm that slammed the East Coast on Sunday night into Monday morning, Atlanta did not arrive in Washington until roughly 6 a.m.

"A lot of us didn't get in the bed until 5:30 or 6 this morning and that's life on the road in the NBA. It happens," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "I tip my hat to our locker room because they bounced back from a tough loss last night."

The Hawks led by as many as 16 in the fourth and the Wizards did not pull within single digits again until Jamison sank a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left in the contest.

Atlanta came out of the All-Star break stumbling, dropping four of five games on the road before splitting home contests against Miami and Cleveland.

"I thought we should have been the team with more energy tonight, considering they played a tough game against Cleveland, got in late," Tapscott said. "I guess that's what happens when you have a terrific player like Joe Johnson, he tends to bail you out."

But the Wizards, who have yet to win a game against a Southeast Division foe, proved to be just the recipe to get the Hawks in the win column. Washington is 0-13 in the division and opens a four-game road trip in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

"We couldn't ever really get into a rhythm on offense," Jamison said. "Everything seemed very difficult."

JaVale McGee and Javaris Crittenton came off the bench to play valuable minutes in place of Butler for the Wizards, collecting 14 and 10 points, respectively.