John Wall, Bradley Beal pace Washington Wizards past Atlanta Hawks for 2-0 series lead

By Benjamin Standig, The Sports Xchange  |  April 19, 2017 at 11:23 PM
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WASHINGTON -- John Wall scored 32 points and Bradley Beal had 16 of his 31 in the fourth quarter as the Washington Wizards outdueled the Atlanta Hawks 109-101 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.

Wall and Beal scored 20 of Washington's final 21 points in the foul-plagued game after the Wizards trailed 89-88 with 6:03 remaining. That included the team's final seven field goals. Beal's layup put Washington up for good at 96-94 and Wall's free throw with 25.8 seconds left capped the decisive 16-4 run and put the Wizards ahead 107-98

Washington won the series opener 114-107 on Sunday. Wall had 32 points and 14 assists as the Wizards scored 69 points in the second half. The series shifts to Atlanta for Game 3 on Saturday. The Wizards have won five in a row over the Hawks.

Paul Millsap had 27 points and 10 rebounds for the Hawks. Dennis Schroder scored 23 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 19, but Atlanta was 4 of 20 on 3-pointers and committed 18 turnovers.

After Game 1, Millsap made a point of calling out what he considered overly aggressive play from the Wizards -- "They were playing MMA." Fair or foul, his comments set the tone for the rematch. The teams were whistled for 55 fouls and took a combined 71 free throws. Atlanta was 33 of 38 and Washington finished 24 of 33.

Foul trouble plagued Washington's frontcourt and taxed its second unit. Starting forwards Markieff Morris and Otto Porter played a total of six minutes in the third quarter after each picked up their fourth foul early in the quarter. Morris, who had 21 points over 38 minutes in Game 1, had three in 20 in Game 2.

Not coincidentally, Millsap dominated the third quarter with 14 points, including six during a 13-0 that put Atlanta up 74-67. That lead remained until Brandon Jennings hit back-to-back jumpers and fed Jason Smith for a tying dunk during a 70-second flurry.

Beal followed with a jumper for an 86-84 lead, one of seven lead changes over the final 7:18.

After shooting 6 of 18 after three quarters, Beal sank 6 of 9 in the fourth, including two of his four 3-pointers.

Marcin Gortat controlled the head-to-head matchup with Hawks center Dwight Howard, finishing with had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards. Howard had six points and seven rebounds.

Wall scored 17 points and Beal had 11 as the Wizards led 51-43 at halftime despite trailing 24-23 after the first quarter. Schroder had 15 points, but the Hawks missed all eight of their 3-point attempts and shot 34.9 percent from the field.

NOTES: Game 3 is scheduled for Saturday with Game 4 on Monday. ... Wizards C Ian Mahinmi (calf) is expected to miss Game 3. He last played April 10 at Detroit. ... Hawks F Taurean Prince scored 12 points for the Hawks. ... Wizards C Marcin Gortat also had 14 points and 10 rebounds in the series opener. ... The teams split the two regular-season games in Atlanta with Washington winning the most recent meeting 112-86 on Jan. 27.

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