Hawks, Wizards knotted at 2-2

The Atlanta Hawks evened its first-round playoff series at two games apiece, after a dominating home win over the Washington Wizards by a final score of 111-101 on Monday night.

 

Led by a team-high 19 points from All-Star forward Paul Millsap, the Hawks came into this game ready to compete as they held off multiple rallies by a Washington team that got little help from anyone not named John Wall who finished with 22 points and 10 assists or Bradley Beal who rained in a game-high 32 points with five 3-point makes.

Hawks center Dwight Howard, who had been relatively quiet through the first three games, exploded with 16 points and 15 rebounds— including a trio of thunderous dunks that sucked the life out of a shell-shocked Wizards squad. The Atlanta bench was also a key contributor in the victory, mainly backup swingman Kent Bazemore who scored 16 points and added 7 assists and backup point guard Jose Calderon who connected on two 3-pointers in a 10 point performance. Moreover, the latter’s passion and energy fueled the raucous crowd in attendance.

 

After starting strong and leading 35-28 entering the second quarter, the Wizards hit a wall offensively as the Hawks bench turned great defense into easy points in transition which ultimately lifted Atlanta to a 59-50 lead at the half. The Wizards came out of the locker room for the second half on a mission as they outscored Atlanta 27-18 during the third quarter to erase the deficit and make it a tied game (77-77) going into the final quarter. In the fourth quarter the Hawks struck first with five quick points from Tim Hardaway Jr. (15 points, 7 in the fourth), and fought hard to protect the lead for the final 11 minutes of the game. A tip in shot by Calderon, which summed up the Wizards rebounding woes throughout much of the game, gave the Hawks an 89-81 with 9:11 left. The Wizards gained a sense of home after a Beal 3-pointer cut the Hawks lead to just five (95-91) with just under six minutes to go, but following a foul and-1 by Millsap on an off-balanced shot and a 3-pointer from Dennis Schroder the Hawks went up 103-93 as Atlanta held serve for the final 3 minutes and change.

 

With game 5 heading back to Washington, the Hawks will be set on stealing a road playoff win on Wednesday to set up the chance to rap the series up at home on Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

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