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).