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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). 

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Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

Anthony Davis trade to Lakers gives Silver Spring's Josh Hart fresh start with Pelicans

The Anthony Davis trade will have ripple effects across the NBA, not only on teams, but also on the players involved.

Josh Hart, who was traded from the Lakers to the Pelicans as part of the package for Davis on Saturday, could stand to benefit from the move.

First, here's a look at all of the assets reportedly swapped in the deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Now, where does the Silver Spring, Md., native figure in the proceedings?

Hart spent his first two NBA seasons with the Lakers. He averaged 7.9 points in 24.4 minutes per game in his two years in Los Angeles. 

Still, Hart was often the Lakers' third or fourth option at shooting guard behind starter Brandon Ingram and shared minutes with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Bullock and Lance Stephenson. 

LeBron James and the Lakers' win-now strategy left little room to develop Hart last season.

Now in New Orleans, he is part of a franchise rebuilding around presumptive No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson. The trade gave the Pelicans both a younger roster and a long enough timeline for success to develop players.

That can only be good news for Hart, giving him the chance to start fresh and impress Pelicans general manager David Griffin and head coach Alvin Gentry with his potential. 

Where the Sidwell Friends alum fits into the lineup depends on several factors.

At first glance, the new-look Pelicans could start Lonzo Ball at point guard, move Jrue Holiday to shooting guard, then complete the lineup with Ingram at small forward, Williamson at power forward and Julius Randle at center. 

If both Ingram and Holiday remain healthy, Hart would compete with Stanley Johnson to be the first wing off the bench for New Orleans.

But if Ingram does suffer recurring issues related to blood clots, Hart could press his case to start. 

The only issue complicating his place in New Orleans' plans is the No. 4 pick that was traded from the Lakers.

If the Pelicans keep that pick and draft a wing player like Jarrett Culver, Hart could find himself on the outside looking in again. 


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Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

Pelicans reportedly trade Anthony Davis to the Lakers for a huge haul including Lonzo Ball

According to a report from ESPN NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers have acquired Pelicans' forward Anthony Davis in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, and multiple first-round draft picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

The announcement comes less than 48 hours into the NBA offseason, although the rumors and speculation of the deal has been a prominent storyline for months.

The much-anticipated deal gives the Lakers the star they've been trying to pair with LeBron James for some time and gives the Pelicans a young nucleus to build around the presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. 

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the Boston Celtics refused to part ways with promising forward Jayson Tatum in a potential trade with New Orleans.

The Celtics had been in the mix for Davis, but with Kyrie Irving likely headed for the exits, Danny Ainge was unwilling to part with his young assets in exchange for the one year remaining on Davis' contract.

Before the Davis domino fell, NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes wrote about how a Davis trade could impact Bradley Beal's value

The Lakers, Knicks and Celtics all appear to want Davis and only one can get him, if he is even traded at all.

If the quest for Davis comes down to those three teams, there will be at least two that lose out.

The Knicks or Celtics now must determine whether trading for Beal is their next-best option behind Davis.