John Wall and Bradley Beal took over in the fourth quarter as the Wizards overcame a second half deficit and beat the Hawks, 109-101 to take a 2-0 series lead on Wednesday. The House of Guards combined for 63 points, led by Wall with 32 and Beal with 31. Marcin Gortat also notched another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Wizards protected home court.
Just like in Game 1, Washington was able to get out to an early lead in this one, using a 14-0 run to take a 16-6 lead midway through the first quarter. However, the refs were very loose with the whistle throughout the game and it hurt Washington as Markieff Morris and Otto Porter were sidelined with two early fouls.
The bench had a much better showing in the first half this time as Brandon Jennings hit a layup on a blocked Kelly Oubre dunk while Bogdanovic knocked down his first three of the series on the very next play as the Wizards built a cushion with their bench. But like the first quarter, the refs took over this quarter as they continued to blow the whistles.
Atlanta opted to go small to end the second quarter with Mike Muscala at center and Gortat made them pay. Gortat scored eight points in the period as the Wizards stretched the lead out to eight and led, 51-43 at halftime.
The stop and start play carried over into the second half as the refs continued to enjoy hearing themselves blow the whistle. The Wizards were in the penalty just 3:15 in the third quarter and Morris, Porter, and Oubre all picked up their fourth personal fouls during that time frame. The Hawks adjusted as they kept going with Millsap on the offensive end and the Wizards couldn’t do anything about it defensively fearing they’d get called for a foul. Millsap scored 14 in the period as the Wizards lost their eight-point lead and trailed 78-74 entering the fourth quarter.
Brandon Jennings picked the most opportune time as a Wizard to get hot. With the Wizards trailing by six, Jennings connected on three straight field goals followed by a drive and dish to Smith for the dunk to tie the game at 84.
The lead seesawed back and forth but Bradley Beal rose to the occasion and knocked down some big shots en route to 16 fourth quarter points to help Washington take the lead.
With the Wizards up three, John Wall poked the ball behind from Kent Bazemore and Otto Porter threw him a touchdown pass for a dunk as the Wizards took a 103-98 lead. On the next possession, John Wall found Bradley Beal who curled off a screen for a three-pointer for the dagger.
Wizards come up big when it counts most
For a majority of this one, it looked like the refs were getting in the Wizards’ heads, and you couldn’t blame them. The game had zero flow to it and Washington was looking for calls every time down the court. In the fourth quarter, that all changed as they took matters into their own hands. Bradley Beal came alive with 16 points in the money quarter including a three-pointer with under a minute to play to all but ice the game. John Wall was hitting jump shots, getting to the free-throw line, and came up with big defensive plays down the stretch.
It wasn’t pretty, but it’s very nice to see a game like this where there’s no flow and Washington was out of sync yet still found a way to win the game.
Jennings picks his best time of the year to get hot
With the Wizards down 84-78, Brandon Jennings picked the best time of his short career as a Wizard to get hot. Jennings knocked down three straight jumpers in as many possessions to pull the Wizards within two points. The next time down, Jennings would drive into the lane and find Jason Smith for an easy dunk as Washington tied the game at 84 in the fourth quarter to erase the deficit.
Zero flow to this game
It all started in the first half in what was a borderline unwatchable game at times. The Hawks spoke about the Wizards being physical after game one and that they’d have to match their physicality but it was the refs that took notice. The officials took all of the flow out of the game as 29 fouls were committed in the first half (16 by Washington, 13 by Atlanta). The Wizards wanted to get out in transition but were unable to due to all of the quick whistles.
The teams combined for 55 fouls tonight.