With a chance to take command of this second-round series with the No. 1 seed Atlanta Hawks, the Wizards lost their defensive edge and home-court advantage as they allowed 65 first-half points en route to a 106-101 loss in Game 4 loss Monday.
Jeff Teague had his best game of the series with 26 points and eight assists, Al Horford had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Paul Millsap added 19 points and six assists as they drew even at 2. The Wizards are 1-2 without John Wall (fractured left wrist) and lost at Verizon Center for the first time in four games this postseason.
The smaller team, the Hawks lived in the paint and had too many uncontested layups. The Wizards were red-hot from deep, making 10 of their first 15 three-point shots but trailed 65-55 at halftime.
The Wizards opened the third quarter with a 9-1 run as the Hawks had two turnovers and an airball from DeMarre Carroll. Millsap also picked up his third and fourth fouls in less than two minutes -- on a drive by Beal and going over Marcin Gortat's back for a rebound -- to briefly change the complexion of the game.
Atlanta steadied itself, however, as Dennis Schroder came off the bench for 14 points and eight assists. Otto Porter and Drew Gooden had been sparks for the Wizards, but the reserves combine for just seven points on 2-for-10 shooting.
Bradley Beal set a career playoff high with 34 points on 11-for-25 shooting, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. while keeping Kyle Korver in check again. The NBA's best three-point shooter, Korver only had six points on four shots.
Paul Pierce made all five of his first three-point attempts and scored 22 points, but he had a wide-open look that could've tied the score at 104 in the final six seconds that was long.
TURNING POINT: The Wizards were in range with the score 101-97 after Otto Porter made 1 of 2 foul shots, but Teague buried a three-pointer for a seven point lead late to put the Hawks just out of reach.
NUMBERS GAME: The Wizards shot 38-for-85, 44.7%, including 12-for-26 from three-point range (46.2%), had a 15-11 edge in fast-break points were even in rebounds at 48.
SPARK PLUG: Will Bynum had his best game with Washington, including a series of layups in the second quarter to trim the Wizards' deficit to 44-40. These were the most minutes (14) that he has played in any of his three appearances. Bynum had nine points in Game 3. He came off the bench after Garrett Temple who only lasted four minutes. Bynum returned for a crucial stretch in the fourth when his drive past Teague and Horford in traffic for a layup pulled the Wizards to 89-84. He finished 5-for-7 for 10 points but did have four turnovers.
PIVOTAL MOMENT: Not slowed by flu-like symptoms like he was in Game 3, Millsap was a different player. Instead of beating the Wizards with the long ball, he was able to get to the rim and made the right reads to get six first-half assists. But he picked up two fouls in less than two minutes to start the third quarter which sent him to the bench with four. Pero Antic and soon after what had been a 10-point lead was trimmed to 65-64. But when the quarter ended, the last 10 minutes played without Millsap, the lead was back to 10.
SIZE LIABILITY: Determined to impose their size, the Wizards didn't do a good job with Gortat who wasn't a factor. In 31 minutes he was 0-for-5 and had just one point until his tape in of a miss by Sessions with 3:17 left. Nene only took eight shots for 12 points.
UP NEXT: The Wizards will have a light shootaround Tuesday before leaving for Atlanta, where they'll play the Hawks in Game 5 on Wednesday at Phillips Arena (TNT, 8 p.m. ET).