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Takeaways from Wizards' tough loss in Game 4 to Atlanta Hawks

Takeaways from Wizards' tough loss in Game 4 to Atlanta Hawks

ATLANTA – The only crying to be done Monday by the Wizards is when they look back at how they played in a disastrous second quarter, with a chance to blow out the Atlanta Hawks only to bottom out in Game 4.

Markieff Morris, who called Paul Millsap a “crybaby” after an 18-point loss in Game 3, was a no-show because of foul trouble and Atlanta rallied despite its starting point guard being saddled with three fouls in the first quarter to tie the series at 2-2 with a 111-101 victory at Phillips Arena.

Game 5 is Wednesday at Verizon Center.

The table had been set for the Wizards as they led by nine in the first quarter only to trail by that exact margin at halftime 59-50.

John Wall (22 points, 10 assists) got out to a fast start with eight points and five assists in the first quarter but sputtered. Bradley Beal (32 points) led all scorers. Otto Porter (13 points), who left Game 3 with a stinger in his neck and left shoulder, shot 5-for-10. Bojan Bogdanovic (13 points) had his best game of the series as he made multiple threes for the first time and went 5-for-9 from the field.

Still, the Hawks did much more. They had seven players score in double figures with Dwight Howard (16 points, 15 rebounds), Kent Bazemore (16 points, seven assists), Millsap (19 points, nine rebounds), Schroder (18 points), Taurean Prince (11 points, seven rebounds) and Jose Calderon (10 points, five assists) coming up with big shots at every turn.

The score was tied at 77 after the third quarter but the Hawks got stops, got out in transition and knocked down open shots that Washington had the habit of missing.

[RELATED: PHOTO: Hawks fans brought Morris 'crybaby' signs to Game 4]

--The Wizards shot 5-for-20, had eight turnovers in the second quarter (four by Wall) and were outrebounded 15-9. They were outscored 31-15 which turned the tide for good.

--Morris picked up his second foul at 6:44 in the first quarter and drew his third at 3:10 when trying to stop Prince on a drive. Prince shuffled his feet and the play should’ve been negated by a whistle but instead he got the and-1. Beal picked up his fourth in the last 49 seconds of the third when Schroder drove the lane. Ideally, that was Brandon Jennings’ assignment but he’s shown an inability to stay in front of the ball all series. Kelly Oubre had three fouls in his first six minutes.  

--Schroder picked up his third foul at 2:29 of the first quarter as Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer made a bad gamble. Schroder missed all three of his shots in 10 minutes played. The Wizards led 27-18 when he exited for Calderon, who ended up having to defend Beal.  Schroder didn’t play in the second quarter and when they went to the locker room the Hawks led 59-50 at halftime. Beal only got off three shots in the second quarter and made two of them. Wall shot 1-for-6.

--Oubre’s decision-making off a steal was typical of the Wizards’ play in the second quarter. Wall could be heard calling for the ball as he trailed and Atlanta had numbers back. Oubre continued his straight line to the basket where Hardaway awaited to take a charge. Wall misfired on a lob to Morris at the rim and then Beal misfired with a lob to Wall. What had been a nine-point lead was now a 41-38 deficit when Calderon buried a three.

--The Hawks weren’t finding shooters in transition or even when the pace was slowed. Beal’s second missed three came on a throwahead from Wall on a dead ball. Beal was all alone but backrimmed the shot. Bogdanovic had a spot up from a similar spot midway through the second quarter and didn’t get a runner to contest. He also backrimmed it.

--Howard had been a non-factor but had his first double-double of the series by halftime. Bazemore found him twice on lobs at the rim as there was confusion on the coverage as Gortat went to stop the ball. No one was back to contest or stop Howard’s roll to the rim.

--Jennings (five points) had a small burst when he took advantage of Mike Muscala switching onto him on the perimeter and drained a pair of stepback jumpers but that’s where his impact ended. Muscala’s time was limited to seven minutes while Ersan Ilyasova (six points) logged 22 minutes.

--Bogdanovic shot 1-for-10 from three for the first three games of the series before he found his touch late.

[RELATED: Will John Wall work out with Dennis Schroder this summer?]

 

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Free-throw discrepancy irks Wizards coach Scott Brooks going into Game 4

Free-throw discrepancy irks Wizards coach Scott Brooks going into Game 4

ATLANTA -- During a regular season full of complaints about the lack of foul calls, John Wall is getting his share of them in the first three games of the Wizards' series with the Atlanta Hawks. 

Unfortunately for them, however, hardly anyone else is getting to the line heading into Game 4 tonight at Phillips Arena. 

Coach Scott Brooks addressed it after Monday morning shootaround. In fact, he went out of his way after being asked about Bradley Beal's shooting woes to segue into the lack of opportunities compared with the Hawks' Paul Millsap who has gone from 5.9 regular-season average for attempts per game to almost double that. 

“We’d like to get to the free-throw line. We haven’t been there enough," Brooks said. "Brad is one of our guys who can get there. We have to do  a better job of getting there. Millsap has had (35) free throws. One guy has a lot more than our three guys combined."

Solely based on numbers, Brooks has a point. Millsap is 28 of 35 while John Wall is 26 of 31 on free throws which basically cancels out each other. 

Among the rest of the starters, Beal is just 5-for-9 in three games, Otto Porter 3-for-3, Markieff Morris 4-for-5 and Marcin Gortat has zero attempts.

Dennis Schroder alone has attempted more foul shots than the four at 16-for-20. Tim Hardaway is 11-for-14. Dwight Howard and Taurean Prince are a combined 6-for-9.

Morris held court with the Wizards' bigs about how to defend Millsap. When he gets the ball on the left side of the floor, he sweeps through with the ball and jumps backwards to draw whistles to sell the contact.

The emphasis is on keeping the hands up and not hidden so game officials will see there was no contact on the shot. Jason Smith fouled out in just eight minutes off the bench for Washington, getting most of the whistles defending Millsap.

"The facts are the facts. Our three, four and five have only taken eight free throws in the entire series," Brooks said of Porter, Morris and Gortat. "Their one guy has taken (35). That's what it is. I'm not staying that we're not fouling, because we are. I'm not saying that they're not fouling."

The Hawks are playing soft on coverages and giving the Wizards' shooters mostly open looks as they load the paint to prevent easy finishes at the rim from Wall and Beal. Naturally, they're going to be fewer attempts for the team that shoots more jump shots but that the starting frontcourt has attempted just eight -- after a foul-plagued Game 2 that was litered with 55 called infractions -- still is eye-catching.

MORE WIZARDS: Will John Wall work out with Dennis Schroder this summer?

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John Wall isn't thinking twice about working out with Dennis Schroder this offseason

John Wall isn't thinking twice about working out with Dennis Schroder this offseason

ATLANTA – Among the many curious things that Atlanta Hawks point guard Dennis Schroder says, his comments that he asked opposing point guard John Wall to work out with him during the offseason didn’t seem to make much sense.

Why would that be a conversation during a first-round playoff series between the Wizards and Hawks? And did that even happen? Wall seemed surprised by the question but non-commital about whether or not Schroder approached him about it.

“I’ve never heard of that going on in the middle of a series,” Wall said Monday after shootaround for Game 4 later tonight at Phillips Arena. “I’m not talking about it right now. I’m locked into a series competing with a guy that’s playing well for his team, competing for his team. That’s probably a conversation I’ll have later on, but I’m locked into Wizards versus Hawks.”

Aside from that, Wall tends to be a loner during the summer when he’s getting ready. He was supposed to work out with Damian Lillard a few seasons ago, but even that didn’t come to fruition. Teammate Brandon Jennings sensed that about Wall.

“I really don’t work out with anybody, to be honest,” Wall said. “Brandon said the same thing, ‘You’re the type of guy that don’t like to work out with people.’ I just always worked out by myself a lot.”

MORE WIZARDS: Brandon Jennings explains his 'John with the Shades' MVP case for Wall