ATLANTA – The Wizards squandered Bradley Beal’s 32-point performance in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference opening round, as they lost 111-101 to Atlanta in a series-defining match up on Monday.
The confidence the Wizards displayed in the first two games of the series is gone, as they’ve allowed Atlanta to outsmart them on both ends of the floor. Even before they set foot on the hardwood of Philips Arena, they were already being tested.
Following the Wizards’ loss in Game 3, Markieff Morris called Atlanta forward Paul Millsap a “cry baby.” Millsap responded with an amused smile, telling Morris to suck up his team’s loss and be ready for Monday’s game.
Unfortunately, Morris wasn’t and neither was the rest of his team. Instead, the Wizards suffered their second-straight loss, which has changed the narrative of the series.
As for the test: they failed.
Through much of the game, the Wizards set the pace and established their run-and-gun offense. They remained aggressive in transition, as they ran the floor and provided hard-fought baskets inside. Down the stretch, however, the Wizards committed several turnovers and were outscored in the fourth quarter 34-24.
In the first half, The Wizards took advantage of Atlanta’s early defensive lapses. They operated efficiently in the half-court. John Wall penetrated from the pick-and roll and opened up scoring opportunities inside. Through the first quarter, the Wizards shot 57.7 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range.
Despite the Wizards efficient start, however, they began to unravel. They committed seven turnovers within a five-minute span in the second quarter, which allowed Atlanta to gain momentum on the offensive end. Washington allowed the Hawks to dominate on the boards, providing second chance points inside.
As the Wizards began to struggle from the field, Atlanta took command of the game. They trailed 59-50 at the half, and the Wizards couldn’t regain their footing. Instead, they return to Washington, D.C., with the series tied 2-2 and a sense of uncertainty heading into Game 5.