ATLANTA -- Of all the questions being asked of the Wizards after Game 2, a 106-90 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, there's one that almost trips up Bradley Beal, who had all the answers, is this: "Can you win this series without John Wall?"
Beal hesitated for just a second after Tuesday's matchup when he had 20 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals. "I feel like it," Beal said. "It would be great to have John for sure. I trust these guys. I trust my teammates. John probably would say the same thing."
The Hawks were aggressive in how they trapped the ball when Beal and Ramon Sessions, who started for Wall, tried to run the offense. The result was 16 turnovers, double what the Wizards had in Game 1 when they won 104-98. Beal and Sessions only had five of them but the Wizards only generated 20 first-quarter points and played from behind throughout.
"I saw 30 jerseys, all wearing white. I kind of expected that," Beal said about the waves of defenders running at him and his 8-for-22 shooting. "That's an adjustment I have to make. ... I was forcing it a bit in the first half trying to make up for John's absence but I know what I need to do now."
The Wizards only had nine assists by halftime while the Hawks had 18 on 20 field goals . The space wasn't there for Drew Gooden to get more involved in the offense. He only had five points on 2-for-4 shooting. He missed his only three-point attempt after scoring 12 points in Game 1.
"They had a hell of a game plan," Gooden said. "They started switching off pick-and-rolls one through five. Then they started blitzing Brad, blitzing Ramon. Just trapping them, showing us a different coverage each quarter. It kind of kept us on our toes not knowing what to keep running. They did a great job defensively on us."
Beal didn't think that game plan had much to do with Wall's absence. He was a late scratch because of a badly swollen left wrist from a second-quarter fall in Game 1.
"I think they would've did that regardless if he'd played because they did it pretty early in the game," Beal said. "I'm pretty sure if they didn't practice they'd jump up and do it right before game time."
Game 3 isn't until Saturday at Verizon Center. Wall will have three days to get down the swelling to try to play. The Wizards were given off Wednesday.
"I told the guys on the way in (the locker room), we weren't mad. We're fine. We got one," Beal said. "People didn't even think we would get on or eve make it this far. I think we did a great job of giving ourselves a chance (in Game 2)."
Back to winning this series vs. the East's top seed, a 60-win team, without Wall.
"Not concerned," Beal said. "If he plays, he plays. If he doesn't, he doesn't. You can't put all our marbles in John. We can't make him a savior. Every guy has to step up, me included. We got to pick up the weight if he doesn't play.