Much like Game 1, the shots were there for Bradley Beal. Actually, the Wizards' shooting guard found himself even more wide open as the Atlanta Hawks focused on getting numbers back to keep John Wall out of the paint.
It didn't matter in the end as the Wizards took Game 2, 109-101, as Beal came alive to score 16 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter of a comeback.
"I feel like my flow is good but my shot sucks," said Beal, who shot 12 of 27 from the field following 9-for-21 in the opener. "I've got to put the two together. I'm getting open looks. My teammates are doing a tremendous job with setting me up and creating opportunities for me but I have to knock them down."
Beal missed a three-pointer to open the game that led to Atlanta's first field goal from Dwight Howard. He struggled with his shot from that point.
Where Beal prospered was running the offense. Both of John Wall's three-point shots came from playing off the ball while Beal ran offense. The ball made its way back to him for the open looks.
Beal's slow start led him to becoming hestiant. He bypassed open looks. He even had Mike Muscala on a switch in the corner and was indecisive in attacking the 6-11 backup center off the dribble.
But when the Wizards had to make a final run, Beal was there. He scored 16 of his points in the fourth quarter by making 6 of 9 shots.
His layup off a curl broke a 94-all tie. Beal also drained a fadeaway jumper and his final three with 38.1 seconds left for a 106-98 lead.
"The thing about the playoffs is you get a chance to rest and get your body together," said Beal, who shot 4-for-10 which is is regular-season average of 40% from three-point range. "But I feel good. It's all about mind over matter in the playoffs. Everybody is tried. Everybody is mentally drained and everybody is physically drained at this point of the year. ... It's just a mental challenge more than anything."
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Isaiah Thomas was shut down by the Celtics during the Eastern Conference Finals due to an impingement and labral tear in his right hip, an injury that did not require surgery, just rest. In a few weeks the Celtics hope to know more about his timeline to recovery.
Thomas evidently isn't quite in the clear despite three months having passed. According to Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, Boston will run more tests on Thomas' hip in early September.
Here is what Stevens said on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix, as transcribed by CSN NE:
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September when he arrives back here out east, and from there we will know an exact timeline," Stevens said. "Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe... Ultimately, obviously you want to go into every season 110 percent healthy and we’ll find out where we stand with everybody, but more so you want what’s best for him.”
Thomas doesn't need to rush into anything and he has extra incentive to take things slowly. This is the final year of his contract and he's already stated he is gunning for a max deal next summer.
[RELATED: JOINING CELTICS MAKES MORRIS THE ENEMY, WALL SAYS]
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John Wall was back on the court this weekend playing in James Harden's charity basketball game down in Houston at Rice University and once again put on a show like he did weeks ago in the Miami Pro League.
This time Wall and Harden were joined by Chris Paul, who is now Harden's teammate on the Rockets. The trio combined to make a highlight video that quickly blew up on social media:
[RELATED: WALL CAN PASS FOOTBALLS REALLY WELL, TOO]
Here is the full video courtesy of BallisLife.com:
Some of Wall's best highlights are on defense when he's guarding Paul. It's not often you see that in these types of videos.
[RELATED: WALL ON HIS VIRAL VIDEO IN MIAMI PRO LEAGUE]
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