With last night's win over the Pacers being a complete performance from start to finish, the big test during this game was if they could continue the positive momentum going forward. Fortunately, the Wizards did just enough to keep things going.
The Wizards gave the Hawks a couple leads early in the first and third quarters, but were able to weather the storms to give them a late lead 99-89 in the fourth quarter. And the ending of this game reminded me of the ending of the Kings game back on March 19, after John Wall missed two critical free throws in the last minute of the game when the Hawks began making their last minute comeback. After that, Jeff Teague made a driving layup while getting fouled by Wall in the process, and this made the score 99-97. Fortunately, the Wizards defense held on from there as Marcin Gortat made a critical block, and Drew Gooden made two game icing free throws to make the final score 101-97, and the magic number is now down to one.
With that number at one, the Wizards could clinch a playoff spot tomorrow, if the New York Knicks lose to the Golden State Warriors while on the road.
The Wizards did not have the upper hand for any sustained period during the game until the third quarter, as the Wizards were down by as much as seven, 66-59. After that point Wall helped fuel a critical 16-4 run where he was able to get the Wizards ahead 75-70, capped off by this deep three right here:
After that, the Wizards were able to hold the upper hand for the rest of the game. The Hawks were able to get within two early in the fourth quarter, but the Wizards then had another 7-0 run capped off by an Al Harrington three to make it 88-79 and they weren't able to make it a single possession game until their last minute push which the Wizards were fortunately able hold off as well.
Another big story about this game was regarding the condensation on the court and players slipping on it. Earlier this afternoon, the Washington Capitals played in a matinee match against the Boston Bruins, where they lost, 4-2. After that contest, the Verizon Center staff changed over the configuration from hockey to basketball. There were multiple instances of players slipping on the court, in particular Bradley Beal. Here's one of those slips which happened as he tried to catch a pass from Wall.
This wasn't the only scare of the game, as Cartier Martin stepped on Wall's leg while going on a fast break.
So while the Wizards didn't have a wire to wire win tonight like they did last night, it was on the second day of a back to back. And not every win is going to pretty, so it's a good thing to see them get this kind of a win against another team that expects to be in the postseason as well.