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John Wall clinches win for Wizards on late father's birthday, birth of best friend's 1st child

John Wall clinches win for Wizards on late father's birthday, birth of best friend's 1st child

The day was an emotional one for John Wall, not just because he found himself and the Wizards in a must-win situation in Game 5 with the Atlanta Hawks.

He left Verizon Center in a rush for the hospital where his best friend -- and business manager, Ty Williams -- had his first child. Wednesday also would've been the 70th birthday of his late father, a man he barely got a chance to know. He died of cancer when Wall was eight. 

"Right when warmups was starting, he had the baby," Wall told CSNmidatlantic.com about Williams' daughter. "All day was emotional just knowing it was my dad's birthday. All the things I've been through, it's always great to have the opportunity to play on your dad's birthday. Especially to get a win, you can't ask for (anything) more."

Fortunately for him, 20 points and 14 assists later, the Wizards had a 3-2 lead in a hard-fought first-round series after winning 103-99.

[RELATED: 10 must-see moments from Wizards' Game 5 win over Hawks]

Wall only made 1 of 5 shots in the fourth quarter, but it was a big one. He pulled up from 21 feet, behind Marcin Gortat's screen as his defender went under, for the final basket to make it a two-possession game.

The Hawks couldn't score again.  

"They made shots and we didn't," said Atlanta's Kent Bazemore, who spent time defending Wall and Bradley Beal with 27 points. "That's the game."

The Wizards can close the series Friday at Phillips Arena in six games. The last time these teams met in the playoffs two years ago, it was the Hawks winning Game 6 on the Wizards' home floor to win the series 4-2.

"We're going to see a team that plays all-out. Give it everything they've got. So far it's the best of two. Nobody has (taken) over the series because nobody has won on the opposing team's home court yet," Wall said. "We know they have an amazing crowd. It's really our first time with a closeout game on the road. We got to see what we can do."

The bigger the game, the higher the intensity and stress level. But Wall walked away with a smile knowing he did his father proud on his special day.

[RELATED: Wall's cape makes strong case for wildest outfit of playoffs]

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Cavaliers reportedly parting ways with coach John Beilein ahead of matchup with Wizards

Cavaliers reportedly parting ways with coach John Beilein ahead of matchup with Wizards

As the Wizards continue to enjoy the All-Star break and prepare for the stretch run toward the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, their first opponent following the break just made a significant change to their team. 

According to The Athletic's Shams Charania and Jason Lloyd, the Cavaliers and head coach John Beilein have agreed to part ways after 54 games. It was Beilein's first year on the job after a 12-year run at Michigan. 

Cleveland is expected to promote associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to replace Beilein. 

According to The Athletic's report, several factors weighed on Beilein and the Cavaliers' decision to part ways, including the team's on-and-off-court struggles, and his son's resignation at Niagra University. The Cavs were 14-40 under their new head coach this season. 

For the Wizards, they're in a position to build off a two-game winning streak they built going into the All-Star break with a matchup against a bad Cavaliers team going through major structural changes. Though it's possible the Cavs could play better under new leadership. 

Entering Friday's clash with the Cavs, Washington sits three games behind the Magic for the last playoff spot in the East. 

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Monumental Sports auctioning off Wizards, Capitals gear in tribute of Kobe Bryant

Monumental Sports auctioning off Wizards, Capitals gear in tribute of Kobe Bryant

Capitals, Mystics and Wizards gear, including those worn in tribute of the late Kobe and Gianna Bryant, are being auctioned off by the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation with all proceeds going to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation and the MambaOnThree Fund.

The auction began at noon Tuesday and will be open until the end of the second intermission of the Capitals’ game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

Some of the items available include an autographed No. 24 jersey Alex Ovechkin wore during pregame warmups Jan. 29 and signed Wizards “City Edition” jerseys that feature No. 8 or 24 with Bryant's name on them.

The Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation assists children and families in low-income communities by carrying out charitable initiatives through sports in memory of the Bryants who died in a helicopter crash Jan. 26.

The MambaOnThree Fund was set up to provide financial assistance to the other families who lost loved ones in the crash.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

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