Washington was 4-17 in potential series clinching game sixes, so the cards were stacked against the Wizards. A career night from John Wall and Bradley Beal fueled the Wizards to a 115-99 victory over the Atlanta Hawks..
Washington was firing on all cylinders to start the game, climbing to a 10-point first quarter lead. Markieff Morris climbed out of his three game slump and started hitting shots. Washington’s offense was in rare form, but like almost every lead in the series, Atlanta fought back and closed the deficit to four. From that point, Washington went on a massive run going into halftime with a 65-46 lead. While the Wizards offense was clicking, it was their defense that carried them to the huge lead, recording seven steals in the first half.
The start of the second half mirrored that of the first, as Washington forced Atlanta to four straight turnovers. Despite going down by 22, the Hawks refused to settle for a big loss. As Washington took their foot off the pedal, Atlanta pressed theirs to the floor. All-Star forward Paul Millsap led to the Hawks on a 22-3 run, cutting the deficit to just three. Washington got careless with the ball, turning it over on five straight positions and began taking bad shots. Then,John Wall happened.
Wall was brilliant the entire game, but came up huge when his team needed him the most. Washington could not shake the Hawks in the fourth after being up by as much as 22. The momentum had swung Atlanta’s way and Washington was in trouble. John proceed to score 19 of his career playoff high 42 in the fourth (scoring Washington’s last 11 points.) Beal did not disappoint either, finishing with 31 points and three key steals respectively.
Atlanta finished with three players in double figures, with Millsap leading the way with 31 points. Guard Dennis Schroder, who has been a standout this series, ended the night with a double double (28 points and 10 assists.) The Hawks struggled with turnovers this whole series, it ultimately doomed them in Game six. The Hawks ended the series averaging close to 20 turnovers a game and the same was true on the night, ending with 22. One of Washington’s strengths is their ability to convert in the open court, with Wall being in the top five statistically in that category and Otto Porter not being too far behind him. While some teams can overcome a high turnover game, Atlanta did not have the fire power to do so.
Washington feeds on the play of their backcourt. They go as far as Wall and Beal take them. When they are one, like they were in this game, Washington can compete with anyone. Here is Wall and Beal’s postgame interview:
Washington will get a one day break before heading to Boston on April 30 to begin their series with the Celtics. The game starts at 1 p.m. EST.