Despite Washington’s backcourt accounting for 54 points, Atlanta evened the series at two games a piece with a 111-101 win over the Wizards.
While Washington surely played better than the snooze fest they put on in Game Three, it was not enough to stop the red-hot Hawks on the night. Led by 19 points from Paul Millsap, Atlanta had seven players score in double figures. Atlanta’s depth was too much for Washington to overcome. While they have been, for the most part, outplayed by Washington’s starting guards, Atlanta’s backcourt and the play from Dwight Howard was the key to their victory. Dennis Schoder and Tim Hardaway Jr. were hitting clutch shot after clutch shot down the stretch to secure the win. Howard as been a “no show” prior to Game Four. He finished with a much needed 16 points and 15 rebounds (recording his first double double of the series.)
Outside of of Bradley Beal and John Wall, Washington had a hard time scoring. They built up a nine point lead in the second quarter before turning the ball over on four straight positions (which swung the momentum Atlanta’s way).
Like all season, Washington’s bench did little to help the starters. Other than Bojan Bogdanovic, no other bench player scored over five points. Beal finished with 32 points while Wall chipped in with 22 and 10 assists respectively. Washington did not help themselves with 14 turnovers while shooting 34 percent from beyond the arc. Despite the starting backcourt’s offensive production, Beal and Wall continuously got beat or lost on defense (maybe signs of fatigue due to the heavy work load.)
Washington is not necessarily in trouble going back home with a tied series, but they most certainly will be if their defense does not get back to how it was the first two games. After getting smothered in game three and outworked in game four, Washington can not afford to slip back into old habits that haunted them at the beginning of the season. Wall has been solid this series, his defense is going to need to improve containing Schoder from hitting the long ball. The team as a whole is going to need to start making shots, chip shots and open shots that they typically hit just aren’t falling. Markieff Morris and Otto Porter win needed to find their offensive stride and fast.
Game 5 will be back in Washington on April 26 at 6:00 pm EST