WALL, BEAL LEAD WIZARDS PAST HAWKS

Business World - - ARTS & LEISURE -

WASH­ING­TON — Bradley Beal scored 16 of his 31 points in the fi­nal quar­ter as the Wash­ing­ton Wizards seized a 2-0 lead in their first-round Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (NBA) play­off se­ries with a 109-101 win over the At­lanta Hawks yes­ter­day.

John Wall de­liv­ered a teamhigh 32 points as he and Beal tal­lied 20 of the Wizards’ fi­nal 21 points in a penalty-filled con­test.

The Wizards fell be­hind 8988 with just over six min­utes left in reg­u­la­tion. A Beal layup put Wash­ing­ton up for good at 96-94 and Wall’s free throw with 25 sec­onds left capped the de­ci­sive 16-4 run and put the Wizards ahead 107-98.

Wash­ing­ton won the se­ries opener 114-107 on Mon­day. Wall had 32 points and 14 as­sists as the Wizards scored 69 points in the sec­ond half.

Game Three is in At­lanta on Sat­ur­day (Sun­day, Manila time) as the Wizards have won five in a row over the Hawks.

Paul Mill­sap had 27 points and 10 re­bounds for the Hawks. Dennis Schroder scored 23 points and Tim Har­d­away, Jr. had 19. At­lanta com­mit­ted 18 turnovers.

Af­ter Game One, Mill­sap made a point of call­ing out what he con­sid­ered overly ag­gres­sive play from the Wizards — “They were play­ing MMA ( mixed mar­tial arts),” he said.

In Game Two, the teams were whis­tled for 55 fouls and took a com­bined 71 free throws. At­lanta was 33-of-38 and Wash­ing­ton fin­ished 24-of-33.

Af­ter shoot­ing six-of-18 af­ter three quar­ters, Beal sank six of nine in the fourth, in­clud­ing two of his four from be­yond the arc.

Wash­ing­ton’s Marcin Gor­tat eas­ily con­trolled the head- to­head matchup as Dwight Howard’s strug­gles in the playoffs con­tin­ued. Hawks cen­ter Howard had just six points and seven re­bounds.

Else­where, Eric Gor­don and Lou Wil­liams caught fire in the fourth quar­ter as the Houston Rock­ets ral­lied for a 115- 111 play­off win over the Ok­la­homa City Thun­der who lost de­spite an­other 50-point per­for­mance by guard Rus­sell West­brook.

The Rock­ets erased a 15-point deficit to take a 2- 0 lead af­ter Game Two of their Western Con­fer­ence first-round play­off se­ries.

West­brook de­liv­ered a triple­dou­ble of 51 points, 13 as­sists and 10 re­bounds but couldn’t get the ball to drop when it counted. He shot a dismal four- of-18 in the fourth quar­ter.

Gor­don gave the Rock­ets their first lead with his three-pointer at the 8:07 mark of the fourth quar­ter at 96-94.

Gor­don de­liv­ered an­other clutch bas­ket with 1:48 re­main­ing, drilling a 28- footer off a James Har­den pass to ex­tend the lead to eight.

Har­den fin­ished with 35 points and eight as­sists and was a per­fect 18-for-18 from the free throw line.

Game Three is Fri­day (Sat­ur­day, Manila time) in Ok­la­homa City. —

JOHN WALL of the Wash­ing­ton Wizards dunks against the At­lanta Hawks dur­ing Game Two of their 2017 NBA Eastern Con­fer­ence Quar­ter­fi­nals on April 19 at Ver­i­zon Cen­ter in Wash­ing­ton, DC.

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