Wiz­ards fall to Hawks, re­turn to Washington with se­ries at 2-2

Wiz­ards lose se­ries edge in Game 4 de­feat to Hawks


AT­LANTA | Paul Mill­sap made the head-scratch­ing claim in Washington that the se­ries was just 0-0 in his mind de­spite a 2-0 Washington lead. He was re­fer­ring to the Wiz­ards hold­ing home­court, and how At­lanta was un­de­terred by the deficit, expecting to do the same.

Mill­sap was cor­rect. At­lanta took both games at home, ty­ing the first-round play­off se­ries with the Wiz­ards af­ter a 111-101 win Mon­day night at Phillips Arena. The se­ries will last a min­i­mum of six games. Game 5 is Wed­nes­day night in Washington. Game 6 will be Fri­day night in At­lanta.

Bradley Beal scored 32 points. John Wall added 22 and 10 as­sists. But, Washington was un­done by an early fourth-quar­ter se­quence when At­lanta moved to an eight­point lead against a band of the Wiz­ards’ backup play­ers. A rally by Washington’s starters was stalled when Den­nis Schroder watched a 3-pointer bounce, bounce, bounce and drop to give At­lanta a 10-point lead with 1:47 to play.

By the end of the half, Washington’s pos­i­tive first quar­ter work was un­done. Mon­day’s sec­ond quar­ter looked sim­i­lar to Satur­day’s first quar­ter, when the Wiz­ards were a botched ver­sion of them­selves. They scored just 15 points af­ter romp­ing to 35 in the first quar­ter and a seven-point lead af­ter 12 min­utes. Once half­time ar­rived, Washington trailed by nine de­spite multiple game si­t­u­a­tions that should have worked to its ad­van­tage.

The prime case was foul trou­ble for Schroder. He played just nine min­utes in the first half be­cause three fouls forced him off the floor. Schroder, who was av­er­ag­ing 25 points per game in the first three games, had two fouls with 4:08 to play in the first quar­ter. Hawks coach Mike Bu­den­holzer left him on the floor. Less than 90 sec­onds later, Schroder com­mit­ted his third and was done for the half.

Yet, his ab­sence was not ex­ploited by the Wiz­ards. Their sec­ond quar­ter was pop­u­lated with too many turnovers and missed jump shots. Af­ter not turn­ing the ball over once in the first quar­ter, Washington turned it over eight times in the sec­ond. Jose Calderon, the Hawks’ creaky 35-year-old backup point guard, sur­vived de­fen­sively against Bran­don Jen­nings, Bo­jan Bog­danovic, then, even­tu­ally, even Beal. The quar­ter ended when Wall took a spin­ning midrange jumper against multiple de­fend­ers. He missed. Beal was stand­ing at the top of the key and open when Wall shot. Beal did not help Wall up af­ter the shot. In­stead, he walked off the floor ir­ri­tated.

Plug­ging away in the third drew Washington even. Beal scored nine points in the quar­ter, but picked up his fourth foul right at the end. He, like other Washington play­ers, was a vic­tim of Bran­don Jen­nings’ in­abil­ity to de­fend. Beal had to guard Schroder since it has been well-de­fined in the se­ries that Jen­nings can­not. His fourth foul was a re­sult of do­ing so. The Wiz­ards had at least tied the game, set­ting up a fourth-quar­ter that could swing the se­ries ei­ther way. That’s when At­lanta made Mill­sap look pre­scient.


Washington Wiz­ards guard Bradley Beal tries to break from the de­fense of At­lanta Hawks guard Tim Har­d­away Jr. in a 111-101 Game 4 loss on Mon­day.

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