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Wizards vs. Hawks 2015 final score: Hawks hold on for Game 2 win over John Wall-less Wizards

The series, now headed to Washington, is even at one.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

DeMarre Carroll scored 22 points and Paul Millsap added 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 106-90 Game 2 home win over the Washington Wizards. The Wizards were playing without John Wall, who missed the game due to a wrist injury which he suffered in Game 1. The secound round series is now tied at one.

In Wall's absence, Washington turned to reserve Ramon Sessions. Sessions, starting his first game of the postseason, scored a team-high 21 points, but the Wizards attempted just 14 free throws all game as they had trouble generating sustained offense without Wall on the floor. The Hawks, meanwhile, got the the line 25 times, generating 22 points. This helped make up for them connecting on just 10 of their 29 three point attempts.

Atlanta got off to a quick start -- they assisted on 18 of their 20 first half baskets -- but allowed Washington to hang around the entire first half. At one point in the second quarter, the Hawks led by 10. But some sloppy play by Atlanta, plus Paul Pierce's accurate long range shooting and Bradley Beal's ability to create off the dribble brought the Wizards back. Piece connected on three three-pointers while his teammates added in three more, and Washington, despite turning the ball over nine times in the half and shooting just 41 percent from the field, trailed just 53-46 at halftime.

The third quarter was same the story. The Hawks continued to miss open jumpers, and the Wizards, behind a hot stretch from Ramon Sessions and some Hawks-ian like ball movement, hung around before eventually tying the game late in the quarter at 71 on an Otto Porter Jr. three-pointer. Atlanta was able to respond, however, and led by five entering the fourth.

The game stayed close for most of the fourth quarter until a 7-0 run with about five minutes left in the game pushed the lead out to 12.

The Hawks finished the game with assists on 30 of their 37 made field goals. They also turned the ball over just 10 times.

The series will resume Saturday in Washington, where the Wizards will host Game 3.

3 things we learned

John Wall is the Wizards' best player

Not exactly a surprise, but still a point worth making. Ramon Sessions played as well as Wizards fans could have hoped, but he's just not able to do the things John Wall does. He can't break down a defense in the same way and he's certainly not as good at getting his teammates involved. Also, there's that other thing called defense. Wall is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. It's probably not a coincidence that the game he missed is the one where the Hawks went off in the second half (they scored 53 points and hit seven three pointers after making just two in the first half).

When the Hawks play their starters, they're really good

Via NBA.com come these numbers: The Hawks were outscoring opponents by 16.3 points per 100 possessions in the 128 minutes that they have played their five starters together (Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, DeMarre Carroll, Paul Millsap, Al Horford) this postseason going into Tuesday night's game. The problems for Atlanta comes when it doesn't play these five together. It's those units that led to the first round struggles against the Nets and to the Game 1 home loss to the Wizards. Game 2 was put away in the fourth quarter when Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer went back to his core group. It would behoove him to continue doing so.

The Hawks are in trouble

All that being said, this was not an impressive win. Think about it like this: the Hawks, the higher-ranked seed, were down 1-0, and losing another game at home would have essentially ended the series just two games in. Additionally, the Wizards team the Hawks were facing was missing its best player. Also, did we mention yet that this game was in Atlanta? And yet, the Hawks allowed the Wizards to hang around, to make this a game, to compete. That is not how a championship contender plays.