Wizards
Washington Wizards point guard John Wall. (Geoff Burke | USA TODAY Sports)

After a full day of games on Saturday, the Washington Wizards and the Atlanta Hawks were tasked with the opening game on Easter Sunday. Despite trailing 48-45 at halftime, the Wizards outscored the Hawks 69-59 in the second half and surged their way to an 114-117 victory to take a 1-0 series lead. The Wizards were led by point guard John Wall who finished with 32 points and 14 assists.

In the first half, Washington got out to a quick start in the 1st quarter and jumped out to an early 18-8 lead. However, the Hawks answered by going on a 17-2 run and attempted 14 free throw attempts to take a 29-25 lead. The Hawks were able to get things going with their bench unit and exploit the Wizards bench that only scored 4 points in the 1st half.

Another bright spot for the Hawks in the first half was the play of Dennis Schroeder and Paul Millsap who were having their way. But after Wizards forward Markieff Morris was fouled on a three-point attempt to end the half by Millsap, the two had words for each other after a very physical matchup for most of the first half.

Similar to the way the game started, the Wizards were in attack mode to start the second half and reclaimed the lead thanks to 11 early third quarter points from Markieff Morris. Not to be outdone, John Wall had 15 third quarter points of his own to help the Wizards take an 83-76 lead heading into the 4th quarter.

 

Although the Hawks were doing their best to keep up, the unforced turnovers committed by the Hawks allowed Washington to get out and run. That trend continued to start the fourth as the Hawks committed three turnovers in their first four positions and allowed Washington’s bench to get going.

The Hawks, however, continued to stay within striking distance thanks in large part to Schroeder’s 25 points. After a turnover by the Wizards, Taurean Prince hit a corner three with 1:53 remaining to make the score 108-103 to give the Hawks a chance. Unfortunately, the Hawks turned the ball over with 57 seconds remaining and Wall put the nail in the coffin with a layup with 15 seconds remaining.

After a tightly contested first half, the Wizards were able to run away with things in the second half. Game 2 will be on Wednesday at 7 PM and will be a very intriguing matchup to see how Atlanta rebounds after a game 1 loss.

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