The Wizards charged towards the end of the postseason looking like one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. With John Wall making a case for best point guard in the East, it looked as if Washington was ready to make a big postseason splash. And to an extent, they did. They came out and decidedly won their first two games in Washington to take a commanding 2-0 lead on the Hawks.
But when they got to Atlanta, they weren’t ready to end the Hawks there. They got blown out in Game 3, which you could write off as one bad game. But in Game 4 they had their chances, but ultimately let Atlanta off the hook. Now? The series is tied 2-2 and it will be a best out of three moving forward. The Wizards have plenty of time to redeem themselves but for now they look like a team not quite ready to be able to step on a team’s throat when they need to.
Remember that time the Atlanta Hawks won player of the month with their entire starting lineup in 2015? Well their Game 4 win over the Wizards was kind of like that. With seven players scoring in double figures, including their entire starting five, they tied up the series and will now head to Washington for Game 5.
The Hawks got huge games from Jose Calderon, Dwight Howard, and Kent Bazemore. Yes, we said Jose Calderon. He was a +26 in his eight first half minutes as the Hawks took control of the game. He finished with 10 points, five assists, and a +29 on the game.
Dwight Howard showed flashes of his old self and finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds. He was a presence of the defensive end as well.
With the Hawks role players stepping up, it was their rock, Paul Millsap pulling them through. The defining moment of the game was when Millsap grabbed this rebound late in the game with five Wizards players surrounding. He grabbed the board on one leg, put the shot back up and completed the three-point play.
The Wizards will have to prove they can show up when it matters and finish this Hawks team off quickly if they want to prove they are a top team in the Eastern Conference.