The Washington Wizards took Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals vs. the Atlanta Hawks after a third-quarter change in momentum propelled them to a 104-98 victory. John Wall and Bradley Beal got hurt in the game, Beal with a sprained right ankle, Wall sustaining a sprained left wrist, but they played through the pain to lead the team to victory.
The Atlanta Hawks owned much of the game’s momentum in the first half scoring 63 points. The Washington Wizards went on to outscore the Atlanta Hawks 28-20 in the third quarter and 23-16 in the fourth.
Four of the five starters were in double figures by the end of the game: Beal (28 points, seven assists), Wall (18 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds), Marcin Gortat (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Paul Pierce (19 points, three rebounds).
It was a neck-and-neck battle on the boards and the Wizards won it 69-68 in addition to getting to line more than the Atlanta Hawks (Wizards 19-of-22, Hawks 11-of-14). The Washington Wizards are a top-10 team in free throw shooting at 71 percent which isn’t really a percentage to marvel at but it gets the job done according to league standards.
Some more good news? The Washington Wizards made playoff history becoming the first team to win four consecutive series opening games on the road. They did it in against the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers last year and the Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks this year. The series just started but this Wizards team is for real and could contend for a title.
They have all the pieces necessary to do so. All they need to do win game two in Atlanta and then they’ll have their crowd behind them at the Verizon Center for Games 3 and 4. It won’t be easy because Atlanta is going to be on a mission to redeem themselves.
The Wizards took Game 1, which is always a good thing.