Wizards steal the show to go up 3-2

WASHINGTON • The Washington Wizards made a point of watching movies as a team this season, particularly during road trips.

Their latest film session was something of a horror show. The footage of their defence against the Hawks in back-to-back losses at Atlanta was not Oscar-worthy.

But they responded with a 103-99 win over the Hawks on Wednesday in Game Five of their National Basketball Association (NBA) first-round play-off series.

Bradley Beal scored 27 points and John Wall had 20 points and 14 assists at Verizon Centre as the Wizards regained control of the Eastern Conference series by going up 3-2. The series shifts to Atlanta today (tomorrow morning, Singapore time) for Game Six.

The Hawks won Game Three and Game Four at home by an average of 14 points. Before the pivotal Game Five, Wizards coach Scott Brooks and the players held a "pretty direct and honest discussion" about the losses.

Atlanta dominated with points in the paint in the wins. Washington turned the tables on Wednesday with a 40-36 advantage and nearly doubled the Hawks in fastbreak points (20-12) while holding Atlanta to 40.9 per cent shooting from the field.

"If you're not locked in, it's easy to be forced to make mistakes - like the last game in Atlanta," Brooks said. "Our film session was good (Tuesday) and we came back with a good focus."

Dennis Schroder had 29 points and 11 assists for the fifth-seeded Hawks.

Paul Millsap finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks. Tim Hardaway Jr scored 15.

Part of the strategic change involved sending a double team in the direction of Millsap rather than letting Atlanta's offence run through their power forward.

Though Millsap still scored at least 19 points for the fifth consecutive game, he missed all three of his three-point attempts, finished eight of 19 from the field and had only two assists.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 28, 2017, with the headline 'Wizards steal the show to go up 3-2'. Print Edition | Subscribe