The Washington Wizards have come into the Eastern Conference Semifinals with guns blazing as they defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 104-98, in Game 1 after an epic comeback.
The Wizards rallied from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter after trailing for much of the game to set up an exciting fourth quarter.
They had taken a 9-7 lead in the first quarter, but the Hawks went on a 30-17 run to close out the quarter.
The Wizards were able to pull within six twice in the second quarter, but the Hawks went into halftime with a 10-point lead.
Fortunately, Wizards point guard John Wall was able to avoid a serious injury after landing hard on his wrist in the second quarter.
The Hawks continued to hold a big lead over the Wizards in the third quarter, and they led by 10 with about six minutes left.
Power forward Drew Gooden put the Wizards within one point after sinking a three-pointer.
After Dennis Schroder responded with a three-pointer for the Hawks, the Wizards tied it up with free throws as Beal and center Marcin Gortat made two apiece.
The third quarter ended with the Hawks leading by two points, but the Wizards went on an 8-0 run to start the fourth quarter.
The Wizards faced another obstacle along the way though, as Beal suffered a foot injury after missing a shot with about eight minutes left in the game. He was able to return toward the end though.
The Wizards held onto their lead for the rest of the game, and small forward Otto Porter Jr. made a key three-pointer with about three minutes left that proved to be a difference maker.
The Hawks were not ready to give up though as they went on a 5-0 run, and power forward Paul Millsap made a dunk to trim the Wizards’ lead to two.
Gortat sealed the win for the Wizards with a rebound and a two-point shot that gave them a six-point lead with 14 seconds left.
Wall made two free throws to end the game as he persevered through the game despite his earlier injury.
Beal starred for the Wizards before his injury by scoring 28 points with seven rebounds, and Wall added 18 points with seven rebounds and 13 assists. The point guard also came up with three blocked shots.
Small forward Paul Pierce added 19 points, and Gortat scored 12 points with 12 rebounds. Porter also logged a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Six total players scored in double digits for the Wizards, as Gooden also achieved that feat with 12 points.
The Hawks’ entire starting five scored in double digits as well, but their 37.8 percent shooting weighed them down.
Small forward DeMarre Carroll tied a playoff career high in points with 24. Center Al Horford added 17 points with 17 rebounds and seven assists.
Millsap also played an all-around solid game despite being a big man as he chipped in 15 points with 12 boards while dishing out eight assists.
The Hawks will look to even the series with another home game against the Wizards on Tuesday, and it remains to be seen how Beal’s health is.