The Washington Wizards take Game 1 of this series defeating the Atlanta Hawks on the road, 104-98. Washington’s backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal led the way once again as they combined for 46 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists. In the last two years the Wizards hold a road record of 8-1 in the playoffs.
Bradley Beal led Washington in scoring with 28 points on 9-of-22 shooting from the field, including 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Beal played 40 minutes in this game but he had to leave late in the fourth quarter as he sprained his ankle severely, forcing him to go back to the locker room. He would return in the waning moments but could finish it out.
John Wall suffered a sprained left wrist but played through it and ended the game with 18 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds and three blocks. Wall had a hand in every facet of the game tonight, and he really stepped up when Beal left the game with an injury. Paul Pierce added 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field. Marcin Gortat added a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
The Wizards bench came up huge as Drew Gooden gave 12 points and five rebounds, while Otto Porter recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. Both guys came in the game with energy that really helped this team get on track early in the game.
It was a tale of two halves for the Atlanta Hawks. DeMarre Carroll ended the game with 24 points, 21 of which came in the first half. The Hawks big men Paul Millsap and Al Horford were great in many different ways. Millsap finished the game with 15 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks. Horford added 17 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists.
It was the backcourt tandem of Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver that really hurt the Hawks down the stretch. Teague finished the game with 11 points and seven assists, while Korver added 13 points and five rebounds. The two combined to shoot 9-of-29 from the field and 4-for-14 from behind the arc.
Atlanta came out of the gates hot as they scored 37 points in the first quarter and held an 11-point lead over the Wizards. Slowly but surely the Hawks offense would slow down as the Wizards would fight and claw their way back into this game. Atlanta shot over 50 percent in the first half and ended the game shooting 37.8 percent from the field.
The fourth quarter for the Hawks was by far their lowest point. They finished with only 15 fourth quarter points shooting 5-of-28 from the field, including 1-of-10 from three-point land. Washington’s defense definitely bothered their offense but they missed several wide open shots we are used to them making during the regular season.
The defining moment and proof the Wizards were in the driver’s seat down the stretch was when Atlanta secured five offensive rebounds in one offensive possession and they missed all six of their shots. They kept hustling and giving themselves open looks but couldn’t knock any of them down.
Maybe you can chalk this is to the quick turnaround less than 48 hours after they closed out Brooklyn in six games in the previous round, but the Wizards made adjustments defensively and they really did a better job closing out on jump shooters forcing tougher shots than the ones given in the first half. Washington did look a little rusty early on, but they gained steam as they game continued and by the fourth quarter they had more energy than the Hawks.
Washington made NBA history with this win as no team has ever won four-straight Game 1s on the road. The Wizards will stay in Atlanta and face the Hawks in Game 2 on Tuesday night at 8:00 PM EST.