Wizards G John Wall had a double-double in Game 1 en route to a Washington win. Can he lead the Wizards to a 2-0 series lead?
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The Washington Wizards play the Atlanta Hawks in the second of two Eastern Conference Semi-Final games with the hopes of taking a 2-0 series lead.
In an upset on Sunday, the Wizards overcame an 11-point first quarter lead to beat the Hawks 104-98 thanks to an incredible performance by the defense in the fourth quarter which held the Hawks to just 15 points. Leading the way to victory was a 28-point performance by G Bradley Beal who also led the team with 39:46 minutes played. F Paul Pierce and All-Star G John Wall recorded 19 and 18 points respectively while Wall added a whopping 13 assists to give him a double-double on the day.
C Marcin Gortat and bench player Otto Porter both contributed double-doubles as well. Gortat had 12 points and 12 rebounds while Porter had 10 points and 11 rebounds, including a team-high 10 defensive rebounds. Bench player Drew Goodson added another 12 points in just 14:07 to give the Wizards the edge.
For the Hawks, the No. 1 overall seed in the Eastern Conference started as strong as it had in any game in the previous series against the Nets, but squandered the lead in the third quarter and was unable to recover in the fourth. Despite very strong showings by Fowards Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll, the team missed 25 three-point attempts – the Wizards missed just 16. The impressive play by the Hawks’ starting five – which included 24 points from Carroll, a double-double from Millsap (15 points, 12 rebounds), a double-double from C Al Horford (17 points, 17 rebounds) and 10+ point performances from Guards Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver – was plagued by turnovers. Millsap and Horford alone accounted for seven of the team’s 11 turnovers – more than the entire Wizards’ team combined.
But even with the turnovers, the Hawks were still able to keep the game fairly close. Assuming the Hawks can clean them up in Game 2, they likely won’t make the same mistake twice.
Prediction: Atlanta Hawks win Game 2 – Millsap may be turnover prone, but Horford usually isn’t. All Horford needs to do is play a smarter game and the Hawks should have this one in the bag.