Late game drama aside, there was plenty to like about the Wizards' performance in light of some difficult circumstances. The Wizards didn't have John Wall, who missed his second straight game after injuring his wrist. The Wizards didn't have a 60-win team this season, like Atlanta. And clearly, the Wizards didn't have a bench capable of holding on to what seemed to be an insurmountable 21 point lead. But they had The Truth, and when The Truth is on your side, nothing else matters.
Here's Pierce's game winner, for your enjoyment and repeated viewing:
The Hawks sent three players to contest Pierce's final shot. Maybe next time they'll send 83. Here's what else we learned from the Wizards' big win.
Nene reminded everyone why he's still a valuable player for the Washington Wizards. After the Hawks stretched him out of his comfort zone in the first two games of the series, he turned the tides with physical play in Game 3. Paul Millsap was hampered by illness, which allowed Nene to save the energy he'd been burning chasing Paul Millsap around the court and save it to deliver harder picks to get Bradley Beal open and use his post-ups to get easy points and force the Hawks into foul trouble.
Beal and Teague get chippy
Early on, it was clear the Hawks didn't know how to respond to how the Wizards were roughing them up. In the second quarter, Jeff Teague came up with an interesting adjustment. And by interesting adjustment, we mean trying to knock Bradley Beal out of the game.
Too bad Jeff Teague was too busy getting roasted by Deron Williams in the first round to hear the news that Bradley Beal doesn't roll when people try to push him around. Teague got a Flagrant 1 for the foul.
In the third quarter, Beal and Teague had another questionable meeting in the third quarter, when Beal fouled Teague on a fast break. Beal was only assessed with a common foul on the play, but Teague picked up a technical after he stepped toward Beal after the play.
Regardless of how you feel about the plays in question, it's clear we've got another testy playoff series on our hands. So that should be fun to keep an eye on the rest of the series.
Bradley Beal makes positives steps as a distributor
After Game 2, it was clear Bradley Beal needed to improve as a distributor to give the Wizards a shot without John Wall. At this point in the season, it's foolish to expect Beal to correct all of his issues overnight, but he made some positive adjustments in Game 3, finishing with 8 assists and generally playing like he had a better feel for the court, despite what those five turnovers might suggest.