Here are some quick takeaways from the Wizards’ Game 1 win over the Hawks in Atlanta earlier this afternoon:
After showing a style of play and shot selection we hadn’t seen all season during round one, the Wizards unveiled another new aspect of their team in game one of round two: Resilience.
During the regular season, it seemed like the Wizards found a way to let every close game slip away, and rarely did we find ourselves celebrating a hard fought Wizards comeback. Game 2 was everything we had come to expect, except the exact opposite. They held the Hawks to 5-28 shooting in the 4TH quarter. They overcame a Bradley Beal injury. They overcame a double digit lead. They overcame a bad John Wall turnover (his only bad play). They overcame a possession in which they allowed 4 offensive turnovers by getting stop after stop after stop after stop. They overcame having to play Kevin Seraphin extended minutes. They overcame 21 first half points from DeMarre Carroll (24 for the game) and 15 combined assists from Paul Millsap and Al Horford. The game looked like it was all Hawks for quite a while. Then the Wizards locked down and locked in. They didn’t steal this game, they straight up wrestled it away in the most “playoff” fashion possible.
The Hawks showed their clear therapodic superiority compared to the Raptors, both offensively and defensively. This is going to be a much different series than round one. This series is going to be tough. Game 1 proved the Wizards are up for the challenge.
Seriously, everything Bradley Beal related is important right now. First, his health. Beal was having the playoff game of his life, and then Beal went down. The Wizards held on without him down the stretch (his short, clearly hobbled stint not withstanding), but they need a functional Beal to win this series.
As for that game of his life: 28 points. Five three point attempts, 2 made threes. TEN free throw attempts (made eight). And seven rebounds. He was in attack mode, and when Beal is in attack mode, this is a different team.
Get well soon!
Otto Porter is the Truth.
OK. I take that back. Porter isn’t quite THE Truth. Pierce came through again with 19 points, many of which were critical, run stopping buckets, including a big jumper to stabilize things immediately after Beal went to the locker room.
But Otto Porter is real. He was again active, on his way to ten points and eleven rebounds. And the confidence was glaring. He took, and made, big shots with no hesitation. He played fearlessly. With Otto emerging as a legit, this Wizards team is capable of big things.
John Wall Does it All.
The 18 points and 13 assists were cool, I guess. But the defense was something special, even for Wall. His three blocks all felt critical to the outcome of the game, and his block on Millsap to take away an open Millsap layup near the end was enormous.
But his defense went beyond the blocks. Wall was everywhere on switches and recoveries, and kept everyone he guarded in check.
OH! And how about that concrete wall screen he set that freed up Pierce to drive and drop it off for an easy dime? Yea. That was awesome too.
Simply put, he’s the best player in this series. When you’ve got the best guy in the series, you’ve got a chance to win.