Quick Links

Fast break: Wizards pull off Game 1 road shocker again


Fast break: Wizards pull off Game 1 road shocker again

ATLANTA -- When the Atlanta Hawks keep answering the Wizards every time they get close, they usually pull away with a comfortable win. Not Sunday in Game 1 of this Eastern Conference semifinal. Bradley Beal and John Wall made seemingly every key play down the stretch -- even after leaving with injuries -- to lead their team to their fourth consecutive road victory, 104-98, to open a series in the last two seasons.

Beal had a game-high 28 points and seven rebounds as the Wizards erased a 12-point deficit. Beal went down with a sprained right ankle at 8:08 of the fourth quarter with the Wizards ahead 87-83, but Wall closed by knocking down the mid-range jump shots and making two assists in the final seconds for layups.

Wall, who injured his left wrist and briefly left the floor in the first half, finished with 18 points and 13 assists. Paul Pierce scored 19. Marcin Gortat had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

DeMarre Carroll had a team-high 24 points on 8-for-13 shooting but he was the only player on Atlanta to stay hot from three-point range. Only three of his points came after halftime. Kyle Korver, the NBA's leading shooter from deep in the regular season, shot 5-for-15 overall including 3-for-11 from three. Jeff Teague shot 4-for-14. Paul Millsap made just 1 of 3 threes for 15 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists. Al Horford had 17 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists.

Pierce set the tone early by scoring seven of the Wizards' first nine points and Beal took over offensively by keeping his dribble alive, getting into the paint and forcing Korver to defend. 

Drew Gooden and Otto Porter combined for 22 points and 16 rebounds to lead the bench. Ramon Sessions scored five points, too. 

The Wizards won the first two road games last season in a first-round series with the Chicago Bulls, won Game 1 at the Indiana Pacers and won the first two games at the Toronto Raptors in the first round this season.

TURNING POINT: Beal's jump shot with 10:10 left gave the Wizards their first lead at 85-83 since 5-2. He then drove into the lane to draw a foul on Pero Antic for two foul shots. The Hawks, held to 35 points in the second half which was two fewer than they scored in the first quarter alone, cut their 98-91 to two and 1:21 left but Wall made pinpoint passes to Porter and Gortat for uncontested layups to seal it.  

NUMBERS GAME: The Wizards shot 38 of 91 for 41.8%, including 9 of 25 from three-point range, 36%, had a 54-52 edge in rebounds, 25-14 in second-chance points though the Hawks were plus-nine in assists with 27.

DUAL THREAT: Down 20-12, the Wizards brought in Gooden and Porter at 5:41 of the first quarter following Pierce's second foul. The duo went on an 8-0 run, each hitting a three-point shot, to tie the score and keep it from getting out of hand. Porter's three-pointer with 3:17 left spotted the Wizards a seven-point lead.

ASLEEP: Nene isn't a big fan of the early tips and he played like he still was asleep in the first half. He came up short on a wide-open 16-foot jumper that led to a runout by Carroll that produced a foul on Pierce. On the next possession, off an entry pass from Ramon Sessions, he just lost the handle for a turnover. That translated into a three-point shot by Carroll. Nene was called for an illegal screen for his second foul in the second quarter, missed a layup and the tap. Nene picked up his third foul when Carroll slipped inside of him to attempt the offensive rebound on a miss from Mike Scott. That miscue led to Korver's first three-point shot for a 44-36 lead for Atlanta. Nene didn't score in 17 minutes.

INJURY SCARES: Wall missed a layup in transition and fell hard on his left wrist, which led to a timeout and leaving the floor briefly. When the Wizards returned, Wall was still favoring his non-shooting hand but it didn't keep him off the court. Beal returned after he stepped on Horford's foot following a jump shot and spraining his right ankle. Coach Randy Wittman pulled him out at the end for Sessions because he didn't think Beal looked good defensively because of the ankle.

UP NEXT: Both teams will practice Monday before meeting for Game 2 Tuesday at Phillips Arena (TNT, 8 p.m. ET). 

Quick Links

Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

USA Today Sports Images

Wizards host students from Stoneman Douglas High School ahead of 'March For Our Lives'

With a march on Washington planned for this weekend following the mass shooting in Parkland, FL, students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were invited by the Wizards to attend their Friday morning practice at Capital One Arena.

About 20 of the kids showed up to watch the Wizards practice, took pictures with players, got a tour of the facilities and walked away with Wizards hats and gear. It was a small break away from what has been a tumultous time ever since the massacre at their school on Feb. 14.

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis was on hand to speak with the students, who are set to lead the 'March For Our Lives' through downtown Washington on Saturday.


Wizards guard Bradley Beal met with the media after taking photos with the students.

"For us to be able to take their mind off of it for just a few minutes is always a great feeling," Beal said. "At the end of the day, we're all human beings regardless of our careers are and what our jobs are. A lot of us have families, kids, brothers and sisters. The last thing that you want to happen is what happened to several of those families. You can never imagine."

Beal went to college in Florida and has participated in his own forms of activism. He has found inspiration in the efforts by Stoneman Douglas students. They have taken what happened to their school as a catalyst for what they hope produces change in the ability to protect similar attacks from happening again.


Beal, 24, finds that admirable.

"It's amazing sometimes to learn from the youth on how to do things," Beal said. "It's a testament to where our world needs to lead to, to where we need to get to and to come together as a society. It starts with us as the younger generation. We've gotta come together with love and do things like this. I think what they're doing is awesome. It's spreading positive vibes and it's true humanitarian work that they're doing."

The Stoneman Douglas students are expected to attend Friday night's Wizards-Nuggets game as well.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

Bradley Beal sees Phil Chenier's jersey retirement as something to strive for

The relationship between Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Bullets legend Phil Chenier goes beyond your average friendship between a current and former player, or a current player and team broadcaster.

Beal and Chenier are close to the point Chenier often offers advice as a fellow shooting guard who helped lead the organization to some of their most important accomplishments.

Beal is always open ears when Chenier is talking and took great honor in being the one to tell Chenier personally that his jersey would be retired by the Wizards.

The day has come for Chenier's No. 45 to be raised to the rafters and Beal feels a unique sense of pride in seeing a man he reveres to the highest degree finally have his day in the sun.

"It's unbelievable. It's more than deserving," Beal said. "I was happy to be the one who told him about it. It's a special night for him. He's been a mentor to a lot of us for many years."


Chenier was a three-time All-Star for the Washington Bullets back in the 1970s. Following his playing career, he became a legendary broadcaster calling Bullets and then Wizards games for over 30 years.

Beal is now an NBA All-Star himself, having earned the honor for the first time this season. He is a shooting guard, just like Chenier.

Chenier was the color analyst for Wizards games for the first five years of Beal's career and Beal has always seen Chenier as a model to follow both on and off the court.

"It's always motivation for me to get better and I feel like this is the final touch of it, having your jersey retired by the franchise that you played a part in their success," Beal said.


The honor Chenier is about to receive is another goal to strive for. Beal wants to achieve a lot of what Chenier has accomplished in his life from winning a championship to making All-NBA to now having his jersey hang in the rafters at Capital One Arena.

"It definitely motivates me for that to be a goal of mine. Especially with the fact we both play the same position," Beal said.


NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

For more on Chenier's jersey retirement, check out our in-depth interview with him on the Wizards Tipoff podcast: