Wizards cast spell, end Hawks season

The Atlanta Hawks 2016-17 campaign ended on its home floor last night after they were unable to best the Washington Wizards in game 6, falling by a final score of 115-99.

 

Despite the heartbreaking loss, Atlanta got stellar games from its leaders Paul Millsap who recording a team-high 31 points and Dennis Schroder who poured in 26 points. Tim Hardaway Jr. was the only other Hawks player to reach double-figures with 13 points.

Led by a point guard John Wall, who erupted for a game-high 42 points to go with eight assists, the Wizards jumped out early and never trailed in the contest. His backcourt mate Bradley Beal also stepped up with 31 points on 64% shooting from the field.

 

However, before Wall and Beal took over the show, Washington leaned on power forward Markieff Morris who broke out of his series funk by scoring eight of his 17 points in the first quarter to help the Wizards to a 30-23 lead entering the second quarter.

After Washington jumped out to a 17-10 lead to begin the game, Atlanta turned inside to center Dwight Howard who responded by scoring all nine of his points. In the second quarter Washington’s bench picked up where the starters left off, as a 3-pointer by Boban Bogdanovic (10 points) gave the Wizards their first double digit lead of the game (33-23). Atlanta would once again turn to its leader Millsap to dig them out of a tight spot and he delivered by scoring 10 points in the quarter as he kept pace with Morris who was also looking to score the basketball. Following a steal by Howard that led to a Taurean Prince layup on the other end with 5:20 remaining in the first half, Washington’s lead was cut to 46-42. Unfortunately for Atlanta that was the last swing they would take in the half, as the Wizards defense suffocated the Hawks offense for the remainder of the second quarter. That effort defensively turned in to easy points in transition for the Wizards who out scored Atlanta 19-4 to balloon its lead to 65-46 at intermission.

Atlanta spent the entirety of the third quarter scraping and clawing to cut into the Wizards lead, which got as high as 22 points. Millsap and Schroder combined for 25 points in the period as they brought the Hawks to within 89-82 entering the final quarter. In the fourth Atlanta continued to fight hard as they got with four points (91-87) following a Kent Bazemore 3-pointer, but in the end Wall and Beal proved to be just too much. Wall scored 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Wizards hit the Hawks with one final surge in order to secure a trip to the second round of the playoffs and a meeting with the top-seeded Boston Celtics.

 

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