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21 April 2017, 06:56 | Andy Ferguson
A 109-101 home win over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday gave the Wizards a 2-0 series lead in the first-round matchup.
According to the NBA's PIE Player Impact Estimate, or PIE, rating, which measures a player's overall statistical contribution against the total statistics in games they play in, Wall was responsible for a third of all game events (points, rebounds, assists, etc.) in the third quarter, almost double his average during the regular season (15.3).
Tonight, the pair became the first Washington duo to both score 30-plus points in a playoff game since 1986.
The Wizards now lead the best-of-seven series, 1-0.
Leading 99-96, Wall scored four straight points and then Beal closed it with a three-pointer with 38 seconds remaining to put them up 106-98. Atlanta erased a halftime deficit by winning the third quarter 35-23, but the Wizards came back by outscoring the Hawks by 11 points in the final frame. Their defensive indifference, which caused Coach Scott Brooks to compare their high-scoring affairs to "old-school ABA games", turned back into the grit that defined most of the year. "That's high level All-Star game".
Durant shot 12 for 20, showing no issues with a recent left knee injury that sidelined him 19 games before he returned for the final three regular-season contests with the NBA-best Warriors.
Shortly after the third quarter began, Morris and Wall combined for the knockout blow.
It's more than just collecting fast-break points, however. "But when I'm into it like that, if I'm scoring or my teammates are scoring, I'm always going to be hyped".
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Dealing with the first blow from the Hawks will be important. Bradley Beal added 22 points for the Wizards.
"He's like, just reboot the computer every miss and just focus on making the next shot", Brooks said. The Hawks adjusted as they kept going with Millsap on the offensive end and the Wizards couldn't do anything about it defensively fearing they'd get called for a foul. "Usually the aggressor is rewarded". Because of their defense, they hung with the Hawks, despite their early shooting woes, while playing Atlanta's slow style.
"The game ratchets up when you get into the playoffs", Durant said.
All five Wizards starters scored double digits in points as power forward Markieff Morris scored 21 points with seven rebounds, center Marcin Gortat had a double-double of 14 points with 10 rebounds and small forward Otto Porter Jr. scored 10 points with nine rebounds. Wall had 15 of his 32 points and four of his 14 assists in that period.
Coming off three free throws to close out the first half down 48-45, Morris connected on a tying 24-foot jumper.
Jason Smith: I find Smith to be wildly irritating as a basketball player, but he's sneakily important to what the Wizards do.
"When he shoots it", Wall said of that shot, "it's game over". To jump over an National Basketball Association bench and land it and not get hurt is- I would have crashed into everybody. Millsap channeled Rasheed Wallace - "It was just two guys playing hard, man, it was two guys playing hard" - but Morris didn't shy away from initiating the chirping. "He does a lot of things on both ends of the court". A unusual anomaly from this game: Atlanta did not make a 3-point field goal during the entire first half.
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