Tied Again: Hawks Even Up Series With Washington at 2

Bo Churney —  May 12, 2015

Paul Pierce had another chance to terrorize the Hawks on Monday night. With eight seconds left on the clock, Pierce shot around a huge Nene screen and had an open 3-pointer for a chance to tie the game.

Apparently he didn’t call game this time.

Pierce missed the open shot, allowing the Hawks to walk away with a 106-101 victory to tie the series at two games apiece. The win gives home-court of the series back to the Hawks, having lost it by dropping Game 1 at home.

The biggest change for the Hawks was the play of Jeff Teague, who had his best game of the playoffs. Teague was out of control at time, but his aggression was a welcome sight from how he had played the first three games of the series. Teague finished with 26 points, eight assists, four rebounds, and what became the dagger 3-pointer, which he hit with 1:12 left to put the Hawks up seven.

Teague’s play did enough to offset the work of Washington’s Bradley Beal, who was absolutely magnificent with 34 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and three steals. In the absence of John Wall, Beal took over the Wizards’ offense successfully, often imitating Wall by just out-dribbling the Hawks down the floor in transition. Beal has been great for Washington in this series and there is a huge reason for the Hawks to be concerned by him in Game 5.

That last play was the giant screen by Nene, where Carroll found himself on the ground. After the fiasco in Game 3 where Carroll was not on the floor for the last play, this is not what the Hawks wanted to go through on the last play in the next game. If Carroll is fine by Wednesday for Game 5, then the Hawks will be fine. If not, though, Coach Budenholzer will have to get creative in a hurry.

Budenholzer’s creativity may not be needed if he gets another great game from Paul Millsap, who was fantastic even though he battled with foul trouble for the duration of the game. Millsap’s 15 points in the first half helped the Hawks get out to a 65-55 halftime lead, which was dreadfully vital to the Hawks after falling behind by so much to the Wizards in Game 3. Foul trouble limited Millsap to 27 minutes, but he still managed a line of 19 points, five rebounds, and six assists in that time.

Mike Muscala was rewarded for his play in Game 3 with 14 minutes of playing time in Game 4, where he had some moderate success. He scored six points and grabbed two rebounds, and his length gives the Hawks a bit of a secret weapon if they can manage to use Muscala smartly going forward.

Dennis Schröder had some great plays in this game, but he also showed his youth towards the end of the fourth quarter. The eight assists off the bench were great, but Schröder began to iso more and more as the game went on, sometimes even hijacking the offense to poor results. The young German still has a lot to learn with running an offense and the Hawks may not have time in these playoffs to correct this problem.

The Hawks will get their chance to take a 3-2 lead in the series on Wednesday night on TNT, in what is probably the most important home game in Atlanta Hawks history.

Bo Churney

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