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Otto Porter steps up as Wizards' third scorer in Game 5 win over Hawks

Otto Porter steps up as Wizards' third scorer in Game 5 win over Hawks

On Wednesday afternoon, before the Wizards and Hawks tipped off in Game 5 of their playoff series, Scott Brooks talked about the need for a third scorer outside of John Wall and Bradley Beal after four games where the star duo carried much of the load. Brooks got just that in a Game 5 103-99 victory, as Otto Porter filled the void with 17 points and did so, amazingly, on just four shot attempts.

Porter at his best this season was the most efficient player on the Wizards. He was fifth in the NBA in effective field goal percentage and all four of the guys ahead of him were big men. 

That version of Porter hasn't consistently shown up in months. Opposing defenses have adjusted and taken away his open threes and late in the year he dealt with back spasms.

Through four playoff games, Porter had reached double figures twice but in the other two games had 11 total points. He had yet to fully break out, but did so on Wednesday.

"I talked to him yestereday and texted him," guard John Wall said. "I told him just keep shooting, keep cutting to the basket, things will start falling for you. It was great to see him get to the line and knock down a couple threes."

[RELATED: Wall gets win on late father's birthday, birth of best friend's 1st child]

The Hawks tried to check Porter at the perimeter and bump him out of his comfort zone with physical contact. Porter didn't retreat, he attacked the basket, mostly on the fastbreak, and was rewarded with 10 free throw attempts, a new career-high. He sank nine of them, also a career best.

"Just trying to be agressive," Porter said. "Just trying to take advantage of my opportunities in transition."

Of Porter's three field goal makes, two of them were from three-point range. Porter did his work at the free throw line and in just about every other aspect of the game. He had five rebounds, two steals, a block and an assist. He also helped close out Paul Millsap on double teams to help out Markieff Morris. All of that in 31 minutes and in a game the Wizards pretty much needed to win to hopes of moving on realistic.

Porter is the type of player who can impact a game in a variety of ways. But getting more from him offensively went a long way to help the Wizards get a pivotal Game 5 victory. He was the first Wizards player outside of Wall or Beal to score 15 points or more since Morris did in Game 1.

Porter came through just when the Wizards needed him.

"That was super big for us," Morris said. "We can count on Otto every time. I wouldn't call it a step-up because that's what he's been doing."

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

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Morning tip: Adjustments for Wizards that worked best in Game 5 vs. Hawks

Morning tip: Adjustments for Wizards that worked best in Game 5 vs. Hawks

The Hawks had made their share of adjustments to get the series even with the Wizards, but Scott Brooks came up with his share of tweaks for a 103-99 win in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 is in Atlanta on Friday, and there are only so many different wrinkles that they can throw at each other as each team has held serve on their home floor. 

A look at the key ones that have taken place:

-- Doubling Paul Millsap. For the first time the Wizards did it. They got results as John Wall got the strip and a foul on Millsap and Beal came over for a block with 1:36 left

-- Bradley Beal running the offense. There hadn't been much of it, but there was more when he shared the floor with Brandon Jennings.

-- Jennings taking advantage of Jose Calderon. He stayed in front of Calderon rather than gambling for steals and actually got one for a quick layup by moving his feet laterally and staying in front of the 35-year-old backup. 

[RELATED: VIDEO: Wall throws down huge dunk vs. Hawks in Game 5]

-- Marcin Gortat vs. Millsap. For the second time in a fourth quarter, the big did the job on the power forward, including in space. Millsap shot 2-for-9 in the pivotal fourth. Gortat had to face DeMarcus Cousins in a similar situation and the Wizards beat the Kings despite Cousins' 36 points. It took him 34 shots. While Millsap is an All-Star, he's not as big as Cousins or Karl-Anthony Towns who Gortat also defended in similar situations.

-- Markieff Morris briefly at the five. It didn't last long because of foul trouble but he can match up with Dwight Howard as long as there's help defense. When the Wizards fell down 34-27, they soon tied it with a 7-0 run and Morris appeared for the tail end of the spurt. Howard didn't create any damage in the matchup. Morris did pick up his third foul and had to go to the bench but Gortat had returned to the game by then. That foul on Howard came on help and not 1 vs. 1. If Morris can avoid foul trouble, this can be a matchup that bears fruit. In Game 1, Howard was caught defending Morris away from the rim and was faced up off the dribble and he had to be taken off the floor.   

-- Wing action between Beal and Otto Porter. The two best three-point shooters on the team only need a slither of space to get off a high-percentage look from deep. Porter got two of them to start the third quarter. Beal and Bojan Bogdanovic had some in the fourth that produced Gortat's only field goal as the defense was preoccupied with them off the ball and didn't recongize Gortat's slip to the rim on Wall's drive. 

-- Kelly Oubre's ball pressure. It was disruptive in the fourth on the wing as he was used there instead of on the ball with Schroder. Tim Hardaway, Taurean Prince and Kent Bazemore combined to shoot 3-for-18 from the arc. Oubre finding his way onto Schroder could be coming in Game 6 to slow down the hot-handed point guard who made 5 of 6 three-pointers.

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

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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 sent 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]