Wizards

Wizards

ATLANTA -- Jose Calderon had a podium game against the Wizards. Jose Calderon, a backup point guard for the Atlanta Hawks who routinely is out of his element when attempting to defend anyone in the starting backcourt.

Not so much Monday, when he took on a bigger role with Dennis Schroder's three first-quarter fouls changing the tone. The Hawks went from down 27-18 to ahead 59-50 at halftime behind the spark provided by Calderon (10 points, five assists) and Kent Bazemore (16 points, seven assists) in a 111-101 victory in Game 4 to tie the series at 2.

"I always think I'm going to be on the podium," Calderon said after playing 20 minutes and making 4 of 9 shots, inlcuding two three-pointers. 

Calderon, 35, is in his 12th NBA season and rarely has had success against the physical, athletic backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. The Wizards couldn't exploit is defensive deficiences.

"They both played well," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of Calderon and Bazemore. "One thing I do know about Jose -- I don't know him but I've seen him enough -- he's a winner. He's a winning basketball player.

"He came in, played well, took care of the game. ... He makes winning basketball plays for every team he's been on."

Bazemore isn't a creator off the dribble. Usually, he's a turnover waiting to happen if he dribbles too much but he led his team in assists -- off the bench. 

 

[RELATED: Toughness and defense are two reasons Wizards lost Game 4]

While the Wizards would tie it at 77 entering the fourth, that was enough for Schroder to come back and not have to play from a hole. He could be aggressive and was as he finished with 18 points. All came in the second half. 

This was Calderon's night. He was a free agent after getting his release from the L.A. Lakers and was signing with the Golden State Warrors.

Their needs changed, however, after Kevin Durant's knee injury late in the season and they chose to go with a forward, Matt Barnes, instead.

That left Calderon a free agent again and coach Mike Budenholzer, who also is the Hawks' team president, pounced.

"Jose Calderon, pretty special with what he did tonight with Dennis in foul trouble," Budenholzer said. "Dennis has been such a huge part of the first three games. So much of what we do is through Dennis.

"We need to send a little thank-you note to the Warriors. No doubt, Jose has infected us with his spirit. He's been great."

Calderon's final bucket came at 9:11 of the fourth quarter, when the Hawks began pulling away after the score was tied at 77 after the third had ended. 

He slipped in front of the Wizards' defenders for a tip-in and an 89-81 lead. There was no recovery from it. 

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