Suddenly, the Atlanta Hawks went from so-so in the playoffs to looking a bit more like a No. 1 seed.
“That’s how we play. That’s how we’ve been playing all year,” forward Paul Millsap said. “Things we didn’t do, pretty much all series, we did tonight.”
BOX SCORE: HAWKS 106, WIZARDS 101
Jeff Teague scored 26 points, Millsap added 19 points, six assists and five rebounds, and Al Horford had 18 points and 10 rebounds as three of Atlanta’s four All-Stars played significant roles to help the Hawks beat the Washington Wizards 106-101 on Monday night and evened their second-round series at two games apiece.
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Washington’s lone All-Star, point guard John Wall, missed a third consecutive game with a broken left hand.
Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night at Atlanta.
“To me, personally, I think this is the best we’ve played all series,” said Millsap, who had eight points in Game 3, when he was dropped from the starting lineup because of flu-like symptoms. “Thirty assists, the way we played defense, the way we stepped up, the way we helped each other, the way we moved the basketball, the way we set screens.”
Is that all, Paul?
“That was midseason form right there,” agreed Kyle Korver, Atlanta’s fourth All-Star, who was limited to four shots and six points, but all of the attention Washington paid to slowing him opened room for other Hawks. “I thought we played with just a lot of juice, and a lot of energy, and a lot of purpose.”
Still, this one wound up being tight toward the end.
Two days after hitting a buzzer-beater to win Game 3, Washington’s Paul Pierce missed a 3-point attempt that would have tied the score coming out of a timeout with 9.5 seconds left.
“Thought I got a great look,” Pierce said.