Balanced Hawks hold off Wizards 111-101, even series 2-all

Atlanta Hawks forward Paul Millsap works against Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris in the first half in Game 4 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Monday

After two straight wins, Hawks have tied the series 2-2 and lock horns with Washington Wizards in the NBA Playoffs Round 1, game 5 tonight. A Bulls victory would force the series back to Boston for a decisive Game 7 on Sunday.

Washington star John Wall scored a series-low 22 points and added 10 assists and 5 rebounds. He had managed to score only 18 points in the three previous games combined.

The Hawks should come in with some confidence, but the Wizards are a different team at home and John Wall becomes a different player.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) catches a pass as Atlanta Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr.

Otto Porter and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 17 and 14 points, respectively. Washington will have an opportunity to close out the series on Friday night.

The split in some of the advanced numbers is even more pronounced. "We have to stick together", said Washington's Markieff Morris.

Atlanta had long odds at a comeback, anyway, but the Hawks' unusual endgame sealed Washington's 103-99 victory and the Wizards' 3-2 advantage as the series shifts back to Atlanta. His 0-for-6 clip in Game 3 didn't help much, either. Millsap scored 29 points with 14 rebounds. Assists-Chicago 24 (Wade 8), Boston 27 (Horford 9).

The Hawks jumped out to a 25 point lead in the first quarter and at times looked to make it a blowout, but Budenholzer had to call several timeouts to keep the Wizards from closing within single digits.

With the win, the Wizards took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. Wall entered Game 5 averaging 28.8 points and Beal 24.3. The Wizards will host the Hawks on Wednesday, and the Hawks will host the Wizards on Friday.

And like Bazemore, Wizards coach Scott Brooks credited the point guard's speed for giving Atlanta another dimension.

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The Atlanta Hawks are coming off a winning season. He scored 18 points. Atlanta once again won the paint scoring battle 44-30.

Millsap and Dennis Schroder stretched the margin on back-to-back possessions. Other than Beal, the rest of the Wizards, including Wall, struggled from the field.

Wall tends to be one of the better defenders at his position in the National Basketball Association, but it's a fair point from Buckner.

Millsap has excelled in the * a href="http://stats.nba.com/players/post-up/#!?CF=Poss*GE*10&Season=2016-17&SeasonType=Playoffs&sort=PPG&dir=1" target="_blank" *post. For Chicago, it must be hoping Rajon Rondo will be ready to play and can make a difference in the game, keeping its season alive.

For the Wizards to close out the series, they'll have to find a way to play with this same amount of energy in Atlanta. The Hawks required a miraculous sequence, one that could only be put into motion through their action, and Wall knew it. Thornton underwent surgery on a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee to fix an injury that sidelined him less than two weeks before he returned to play the final four games of a first-round series loss to the Edmonton Oilers.

Howard has played a combined 16:32 fourth-quarter minutes in the series. With Jason Smith questionable, it'll be interesting to see if the Wizards go with a small ball lineup to really spread the floor out as they are now, very thin up front.

Former Vice President Joe Biden received the loudest ovation of the first half, with plenty in the sellout crowd of 20,356 rising to cheer him when the videoboard showed him sitting courtside.

Durant finished with 10 points in 21 minutes. He finished with 10 points in the period, though that didn't stop the others from trying to create even more offensive balance.

As Kent Bazemore, excellent in reserve Monday, said after Game 4: "This year been nothing short of wonderful, the ups and downs".

But that won't happen.

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