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HIGHLIGHTS: Wizards Top Hawks in Game 1

HIGHLIGHTS: Wizards Top Hawks in Game 1

By David Purdum, The Sports XchangePublish Date: May 3, 2015 03:39:00 PM 


ATLANTA -- Maybe the Washington Wizards of seasons past wouldn't have been able to withstand the type of blitzkrieg the Atlanta Hawks threw at them. But this Wizards squad did, and, as a result, they own a 1-0 series lead. 
Washington cooled off the Hawks in the second half and rallied from behind for a 104-98 win Sunday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinal series at Philips Arena. 
Point guard John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal each played through injuries to have big games. Beal led the Wizards with 28 points, but was injured his right ankle early in the fourth quarter and had to go back to the locker room for treatment. He returned for the final three minutes. Wall scored 18 points and handed out 13 assists with only one turnover, despite hurting his left wrist late in the first half. 
Game 2 of the series is Tuesday night at Philips Arena. 
"All it is is one win," Washington coach Randy Wittman said. "Now, Tuesday is going to be harder than this game. We're going to have to play better than we did tonight to have a chance." 
It was a quick turnaround for the Hawks, who didn't finish off the Brooklyn Nets in the first-round series until Friday night. The Wizards, on the other hand, swept the Toronto Raptors in the first round and had a full week to rest. It showed in the second half. After exploding for 37 points in the first quarter, Atlanta scored a total of 35 in the second half. 
Forward DeMarre Carroll led the Hawks with 24 points, 19 coming a big first half that saw Atlanta lead by as many as 11. They couldn't keep it going in the second half, though, and got off to slow starts in both the third and fourth quarters. 
The Hawks didn't hit a field goal for the first five and half minutes in the fourth quarter. Guard Kyle Korver broke the broke the drought with a 3-pointer from the left wing, and point guard Jeff Teague followed with a fastbreak layup off a pass from Horford that cut the Wizards' lead to 91-90 with 5:45 to play. 
Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer didn't think fatigue was a factor and instead to his team's lack of aggressiveness for the biggest reason behind the second-half slide. 
"We can be better defensively, and offensively, if we're more aggressive and play more like we did in the first half, I think we'll be more affective," Budenholzer said. 
Washington trimmed a 10-point halftime deficit to two heading into the fourth quarter. Beal gave the Wizards their first lead since the first quarter on a 3-pointer that put Washington up 85-83 with 10 minutes left in the game. 
Atlanta forward Al Horford had another strong all-around performance, but he got in foul trouble in the fourth quarter. Horford's fifth foul resulted in a pair of free throws from forward Paul Pierce that extended the Wizards' lead to 89-83 with 7:31 to play. 
Carroll became the first Hawk to score 20 or more points in five straight playoff games since Dominique Wilkins since 1989. He has played for five teams during his six-year career and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. 
"Offensively, you can't score 35 points in the second half and expect to beat this team," Carroll said. "You can't really worry about the fatigue. It's the playoffs, and we were at home in front of our crowd, so our adrenaline should have carried us through it." 
After a sizzling first half that featured nine 3-pointers, the Hawks missed seven of their first eight shots in the third quarter. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Beal and forward Drew Gooden cut the Hawks lead to 75-74 with 3:30 left in the third quarter. Gooden made an impact off the bench with 12 points and five rebounds. 
"It was tough, but that game showed a sign of maturity about this team," Gooden said 
Atlanta led 63-53 at halftime, thanks to Carroll's hot start. He hit five of his first six 3-point attempts and 21 points in the first half. 
The Wizards were able to stay close by making their advantage inside. Washington had 12 second-chance points off of nine offensive rebounds in the first half. For the game, the Wizards outscored the Hawks 25 to 14 in second-chance points, something that will be a storyline throughout the series. 
Beal went down with 8:08 minutes left in the fourth quarter and walked gingerly off the court favoring his right leg. Early reports were a sprained right ankle. He said he'll receive treatment and be ready for Tuesday. 
Wall said his ailing wrist and hand won't stop him from playing in Game 2, either. 
"If it's not broke, we're going to play," Wall said.