Wall, Beal lead Wizards to Game 2 win, 109-101
By Zach Rosen
John Wall and Bradley Beal combined for 63 points to lead the Wizards to a Game 2 victory, opening the series lead to 2-0 now. The Wizards used a big fourth quarter to win the game, while Marcin Gortat, Jason Smith, and Brandon Jennings stepped up in key moments with multiple players in foul trouble.
Wall, Beal lead the win
John Wall and Bradley Beal put the Wizards on their backs down the stretch of the game, combining for 25 points in the fourth quarter. Wall had 32 points and nine assists, including 12 of 15 from the free throw line. Beal added 31 points, including a dagger 3-pointer to seal the deal. It was the first time both Wall and Beal have scored 30 or more points in the same playoff game in their careers, and the first time two Wizards players scored 30+ in the same playoff game since 2006.
“I think, just him understanding that he’s a big time player for us, he’s a franchise guy with me also on this team, we need him to be the scorer for us," Wall said about Beal after the game. "We don’t care if he shoots the ball 30 times, I think he didn’t know he shot it 27 times until he got in the locker room, but like we said, those are all good shots you’re taking and when he’s aggressive for us, it opens up the floor for me. It was good to see him get it going in the fourth quarter and make some big plays to close out the game.”
Gortat with another big game
Wall and Beal stole the show with their 63 points, but Marcin Gortat had another stellar game down low for the Wizards. In 35 minutes, Gortat had another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds, adding in five blocks in one of his best defensive games of the season. He stuffed Dwight Howard multiple times, grabbed six offensive rebounds, and paced the Wizards in the first half when Beal and Wall combined for 8/22 from the field. Gortat finished the night 7/10 from the field and was the unsung hero in the game. He is the first Wizard to record 14 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks in a playoff game since Brendan Haywood in 2005.
"Many guys pitched in to get this win – there’s no question," Scott Brooks said after the game. "You can’t just single out one guy but he was a big part of it. We were down going into that stretch of the game. He came in, he gave us energy [and] he made some shots. That’s how he plays: he plays with chip on his shoulder [and] he plays with an edge. I thought those four or five minutes that he was out there he was active on the defensive end and then did a good job of getting himself some shots.”
Winning it in the 4th quarter
The Wizards out-scored the Hawks 35-23 in the 4th quarter. Washington had just lost the third quarter 35-23 and the team's foul trouble was hurting. Then, with 10:35 left in the quarter, Brandon Jennings hit a stepback jumper to bring the game within two points. He would hit back-to-back stepbacks a few minutes later and dished an assist for a Jason Smith dunk on the following possession. Jennings gave the Wizards a big boost in the fourth, while Beal scored 16 in the quarter and Wall scored eight. The Wizards would end the quarter 14/21 from the field and secure the win.
"Well, since he’s been here," Wall said about Jennings. "I know he’s a guy that is going to pick up defensively full court. He’s trying to find his teammates at all times. I always tell him at certain times, you just got to be aggressive and look for your shot. It was finally good to see him make some shots."
Wizards overcome foul trouble
Only less than four minutes into the third quarter, three of the Wizards key players had four fouls. Markieff Morris, Otto Porter Jr., and Kelly Oubre Jr. were in foul trouble all night, leading to only 20, 23, and 13 minutes respectively on the night. It was Jason Smith who really stepped up for the frontcourt, playing nearly 28 minutes with eight points, eight rebounds, and a few thunderous slams. Bojan Bogdanovic, who played 22 minutes, struggled from the field, but was able to grab six rebounds and get to the free throw line. Still, Porter was a +19 when he was on the court and Morris was +16, even though they only combined for seven points, which shows how valuable their minutes were when they were in the game.
"We’ve talked about the bench doing their job all year [and] they did their job," Brooks said. "Jason [Smith] came in and gave us great minutes [and] Brandon [Jennings] came in and gave us great minutes. Bojan [Bogdanovic] gave us good defensive minutes – he missed so many open shots that I hope he gets next game. We all did it. Kelly [Oubre Jr.] was in foul trouble, but he still gave us great effort. That’s what teams will do -- they have to chip in when guys are in foul trouble. That’s why we have a good basketball team.”
NEXT: Game 3 - Saturday 5:30pm at Hawks
Wizards – Ian Mahinmi, Chris McCullough
Hawks – DeAndre Bembry, Ryan Kelly
Shooting %: 45.3% (39/86)
3-point %: 31.8% (7/22)
FT %: 72.7% (24/33)
Rebounds: 43 (11 OREB)
Shooting %: 40.5% (32/79)
3-point %: 20.0% (4/20)
FT %: 86.8% (33/38)
Rebounds: 41 (10 OREB)