Another painful lesson for the Hawks.
The Wizards used a 16-4 run late in the fourth quarter for a come-from-behind playoff victory over the Hawks. The Hawks lost 109-101 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference first-round series Wednesday at the Verizon Center.
They will leave Washington losing two games they had a chance to steal.
The Wizards lead the best-of-seven series 2-0 before it returns to Atlanta on Saturday.
Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Dennis Schroder finished with 23 points, and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 19.
John Wall again led the Wizards with a game-high 32 points. Bradley Beal added 31 points.
The game featured 55 fouls. Much was made of the physical nature of Game 1 of the series. Millsap said following the game that the Hawks played basketball while the Wizards played MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). The Wizards’ Markieff Morris threatened “Double MMA” in Game 2.
Morris watched much of the game as he picked up five fouls and finished with three points. The Wizards’ Jason Smith also had five fouls, and Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre Jr. each had four. Kent Bazemore had five fouls for the Hawks.
“We had two very physical basketball games on our home floor, and we won,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “Now we have to take it on the road.”
The Hawks led 94-91 with six minutes remaining in the game before the Wizards made their decisive run. The Wizards rallied as the Hawks committed several turnovers compounded by questionable shot attempts down the stretch. The Wizards outscored the Hawks 35-23 in the fourth quarter.
“We had some turnovers that led to easy baskets,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We have to execute better.”
The Hawks again had trouble with turnovers, as they committed 18 that led to 23 Wizards points. They committed 21 turnovers that lead to 23 points in Game 1. Millsap committed five turnovers and Hardaway and Dwight Howard each committed four. Schroder committed one turnover after committing two in Game 1.
The Hawks erased a 10-point third-quarter deficit. They used an 18-4 run to take a 74-67 advantage during the period. Millsap scored nine of the points in the run. They Hawks took a 78-74 lead into the fourth quarter after the comeback.
The Wizards led by as many as 10 points in the first quarter, but the Hawks led 24-23 after the first period. Wall (12) and Beal (7) combined for 19 of the Wizards’ total. They had every point in a 14-0 Wizards run in the quarter to open the double-digit advantage, 16-6, before the Hawks closed strong.
The Wizards took a 51-43 advantage into halftime as the Hawks managed only 19 second-quarter points. The Hawks struggled from long range the entire first half, missing all 3-point attempts through two quarters. They had not gone a half without a 3-pointer this season.
The Hawks finished 4-of-20 from 3-point range for the game.
“We’ve got to make a few more of them when we get good looks,” Budenholzer said. “It has a big impact on the game.”
The Hawks entered the game determined to keep an even temperament despite the physical nature of Game 1 and the swings of momentum in a playoff series.
“It’s about understanding,” Bazemore said before the game. “The playoffs roll around and everyone across the world is “Ooh, it’s playoff time.” Honestly, it’s another game. Obviously there is a lot at stake, but you can’t psyche yourself out or put too much emotion or too much anxiety on it.
“It’s such a negative stigma when people talk about playoff games. It’s the first to 16 wins. It’s still a long season. Take it a game at a time, possession by possession. It’s the same mindset you need in the regular season. It’s still a grind.”