John Walls' 32 points lead Washington Wizards past Atlanta Hawks in Game 1

By Benjamin Standig, The Sports Xchange  |  April 16, 2017 at 4:27 PM
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WASHINGTON -- John Wall had 32 points and 14 assists as the Washington Wizards controlled the second half against the Atlanta Hawks for a 114-107 win Sunday afternoon for a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

Bradley Beal scored 22 points and Markieff Morris had 21 points for the Wizards, who finished the regular season 49-33 and entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed after not qualifying last year. Marcin Gortat finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

Dennis Schroder scored 25 points and Paul Millsap had 19 for the Hawks. Atlanta made 32 of 39 free throws, but only shot 43.6 percent from the field and committed 21 turnovers.

Wall didn't miss much in the third quarter as the All-Star scored 15 points in the period. Washington trailed 48-45 at halftime but outscored Atlanta 38-28 in the third quarter and led by as many as 15 points in the fourth.

Taurean Prince had 14 points in his playoff debut for the Hawks. The rookie's 3-pointer pulled Atlanta within 108-103 with 2:07 left, but Washington countered with four free throws in a row including Wall's pair with 1:13 remaining.

Atlanta won the first meeting against Washington in the regular-season opener for both teams, but the Wizards took the next three including both home games.

Dwight Howard had 14 rebounds and seven points for Atlanta.

The game swung wildly, particularly in the first half. Washington raced out to a 23-12, but Atlanta's second unit fueled a rally that put the Hawks up as many as eight points before halftime.

Morris statistically outperformed Millsap during the regular-season meetings and did so again in the playoff opener. Fouled by Millsap while shooting a 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds remaining in the first half, Morris hit the three free throws and then scored seven points early in the third quarter as the Wizards took the lead for good.

Wall dominated the period from there. After only shooting 32.9 percent from the field in four regular-season games against Atlanta, he went 12 of 24 from the field.

Beal's free throw put Washington up 98-83 with 7:42 remaining.

Neither team entered the postseason with much momentum. Since March 13, the Wizards were 8-9 while the Hawks went 6-10. However, Atlanta won four in a row with a starting lineup that included Tim Hardaway Jr. and Prince before resting several regulars in the regular-season finale after locking up the fifth seed.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer stayed with that look in the series opener. Hardaway, Atlanta's third-leading scorer, had seven points on 2 of 11 shooting from the field.

NOTES: Game 2 tips off at 7 p.m ET Wednesday. ... Wizards C Ian Mahinmi (calf), injured April 10 at Detroit, remains sidelined and is expected to miss Game 2. ... G Dennis Schroder is still dealing with a lingering right mid-foot sprain, Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said pre-game. The point guard played 36 minutes. ... Wizards C Jason Smith was knocked to the court with an apparent left knee injury. He briefly left the court and eventually returned to the bench but did not re-enter the game.

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