Wall and Beal, the Wizards’ twin building blocks, went down with injuries at separate points but returned, allowing fans to breathe again. “Those guys have as much heart as anybody in the building,” Paul Pierce said.
The past is being visited in various ways during Washington’s Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Hawks, from coach Randy Wittman, who played in Atlanta, to the series record, 1-0, just like last season.
The NBA recently began releasing “two-minute reports” after close games. They look at the “last two minutes of games which were within five points at the two-minute mark (and during overtime, where applicable).”
There were scares Sunday in addition to the joy. Wall and Beal both ended up on the floor in pain. Beal sprained his ankle and Wall mashed his left wrist into the court when trying to stabilize his falling body.
The Warriors’ point guard won the league’s top individual award Monday, beating out Harden and James in a race that turned out not to be that close.
The Wizards continue to rage on the road. They have won eight of nine road playoff games under Randy Wittman and Sunday’s Game 1 win may have been the biggest surprise — at least when considering the first quarter.
The Wizards left Philips Arena sore yet pleased on Sunday afternoon. They had flipped Game 1 on its head to find a way to a 104-98 win in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks.
At separate times Sunday, Wall and Beal were on the Philips Arena floor in enough pain that the game had to be stopped.
The Hawks beat the Nets in six games to close their first-round series with a 111-87 win Friday night in Brooklyn. The Wizards and Hawks will begin their Eastern Conference semifinal series Sunday in Atlanta.
The Wizards are waiting for the Eastern Conference quarterfinal between the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets to conclude before starting the next round. Game 6 of that series, with the Hawks leading 3-2, is Friday night. These are the schedule possibilities depending on when that series concludes:
Beal took steps to improve his game by attempting more free throws and 3-pointers, while Wall rediscovered the impact he can have by focusing less on scoring and more on creating.
The gregarious forward was clearly unhappy as the regular season wore on, bothered by his production and his inability to get on the floor. Now, with the Wizards rolling, Gortat is back to his usual personable self.