- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2001


From staff and wire reports

ATLANTA — By blowing a 15-point lead in the final nine minutes, the Washington Wizards plumbed close to the depths of their own futility last night.

The Wizards' 122-119 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena was their 62nd of the season, equaling the franchise low set by the Chicago Packers in 1961-62.

"It's frustrating to us," said Richard Hamilton, who led the Wizards with 30 points. "If you look at most of the games we lost this season, most of them were in the fourth quarter. We lost our composure and started doing careless things, and that's when they won and came back."

The Packers, who finished the franchise's inaugural season with an 18-62 record, changed their name to the Zephyrs for the next season. The franchise later moved to Baltimore, where it was renamed the Bullets, then to Washington, where it eventually became the Wizards.

The Wizards (19-62) can break that mark tonight when they play host to the Toronto Raptors at MCI Center in both teams' season finales. While the Wizards are just hoping to save face, the Raptors have plenty to play for. With just tonight's games remaining, Toronto can finish fourth, fifth or sixth in the Eastern Conference and holds its fate in its own hands. If the Raptors win tonight, they can finish no worse than fifth and will get fourth if New York loses to Detroit.

The Wizards, who have lost 14 of their last 17 games, assured themselves of their worst record since the franchise moved to Washington in 1973. The 1994-95 Bullets finished 21-61.

Washington, which has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference, led 93-80 after three quarters, but the Hawks outscored them 42-26 in the fourth.

Courtney Alexander added 25 for the Wizards, and Laron Profit finished with 18.

Dion Glover led the Hawks with a career-high 28 points, and Jason Terry added 27.

The Hawks finished with a 25-57 record, the worst in franchise history.

Atlanta was down 101-86 matching its largest deficit with 9:09 remaining when it went on a 19-0 run that culminated with Terry's 3-pointer 2:47 later. The Hawks got four 3-pointers, including three from Terry, as they made the sudden turnaround.

Terry scored 14 points on 5-for-6 shooting in the final period. Brevin Knight, who handed out a season-high 13 assists, was credited with seven in the fourth quarter.

"We really created some offense from the defense," Hawks coach Lon Kruger said. "Of course, Brevin getting the ball to Jason, and Jason making a lot of critical 3-pointers was huge for us."

Washington did not hold another lead, though Popeye Jones hit a pair of free throws to tie it at 105-105 with 4:43 left.

Knight answered 14 seconds later with a 16-foot jumper from the left wing that gave the Hawks the lead for good.

Nazr Mohammed added 20 for Atlanta, which has the third-worst record in the East. The Hawks went 7-21 in their final 28 games.

"I credit the win to Brevin, Jason and Lorenzen," Glover said. "They stepped it up defensively and got some steals. Those guys are going to be the nucleus of our team next year. They stepped it up, and we followed behind."

Notes Knight was ejected with 58.9 seconds remaining and the Hawks leading by three points. Knight was assessed his second technical foul, this one for arguing with Hamilton… .

Wizards starting center Christian Laettner left the game in the first quarter with a bruised left big toe and did not return… .

Last season, the Hawks went 28-54, which stood as the worst record in franchise history.

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