- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 27, 2011

After shaking off the disappointment of losing a 21-point lead and dropping their home opener to the New Jersey Nets, the Washington Wizards will head to Atlanta to face the Hawks on Wednesday. It will be a homecoming of sorts for rookie Chris Singleton.

From Canton, Ga., Singleton said he received dozens of messages from family and friends who were excited to see him make his NBA debut, but he is only thinking about wins and losses.

Following Monday’s 90-84 setback, Singleton tweeted, “This losing is for the birds.”

“We didn’t get the win, that’s the only thing I’m worried about,” Singleton said after the team’s practice session Tuesday.

“I don’t want it [losing] to be a reoccurring thing. I want to change this culture, and there’s too much losing the last couple of years. Some people might just like that. I’m not used to it and I’m not trying to get used to it.”

The Hawks opened their season Tuesday night in New Jersey before returning home to host the Wizards. Atlanta was a playoff team last year, a fifth seed with a 44-38 record, and boasts four-time All-Star guard Joe Johnson.

For Wizards guard Jordan Crawford, the return to Atlanta will bring different emotions.

Crawford, a first-round pick in last year’s draft, learned a lot while being mentored by Johnson, but he also was relegated to the bench much of the time. Now, Crawford return as a starter.

“It’s going to be fun being the away team,” Crawford said. “I played them last year, but it was here. It’ll be fun being back in that gym.”

Crawford was traded to the Wizards with Maurice Evans and Mike Bibby last February.

“It was tough [being on the bench in Atlanta],” Crawford said. “With my confidence and the way I feel about my game, I always feel I should be playing.”

Crawford cracked the starting lineup last season when Nick Young went down with an injury and is in the starting lineup now. Young missed all of training camp before re-signing with the Wizards.

But while Crawford has confidence, and chemistry with John Wall, he has struggled from the floor in the preseason and in the home opener. Young, on the other hand, continues to show that even without camp he’s still a deadly shooter.

Young led the Wizards in the opener with 16 points in just less than 18 minutes, even after sustaining a foot injury when teammate Andray Blatche accidentally rolled over it. Young was helped off the court, had his ankle taped and spent some time on the practice court trying to work out the soreness before returning to the game.

Young said the foot still is sore, but he ran well in practice and is expected to play Wednesday.

Coach Flip Saunders said that in preparation for the Hawks, the team watched film, lifted weights, and went through a light workout, then left for Atlanta after practice.

“We talked about it [Monday’s game] and with the way our schedule is, we did some good things last night,” Saunders said.

“It’s just a matter of the other things, the rebounding, we have to clean up and some of our offensive execution.”

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