These short takes are offered as a companion to the Hawks-Wizards Game 4 column, which can be found here. The Hawks won 106-101.
1. When the ball moves, the Hawks really are a different team. Or, more precisely, they’re the team that won 60 regular-season games. Of the Game 3 loss, Kyle Korver had said Monday morning: “The offense was stagnant; the ball wasn’t hopping.” In their Game 4 victory, they managed 30 assists on 41 baskets. Said Paul Millsap: “That’s how we play. That’s how we’ve been playing all year. We stay aggressive; we get to the basket; we kick out and knock down 3-point shots. That’s how we played the game tonight.” For the record, the Hawks tried only 19 treys; they’d averaged 31 attempts over the first nine postseason games.
2. Dennis Schroder, the 21-year-old sub, was allowed to run the offense for the East’s No. 1 seed at key moments in a key game. Schroder had his wobbles — he missed two free throws and over-dribbled on the Hawks’ penultimate possession, leading to a no-chance shot at the 24-second buzzer — but the pluses overrode the negatives. He finished with 14 points and eight assists and allowed Jeff Teague (26 points, eight assists) to take a turn at off-guard. “We could put the ball in either of their hands and get them in attack mode,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “Playing those two together had some good moments.”
3. Credit the Wizards, though. Even without John Wall, they haven’t conceded anything. They won Game 3 and nearly stole Game 4. Bradley Beal, normally an off-guard, has been forced to become Wall-like, and his effort Monday — 34 points and seven assists — was rousing. Will Bynum, the Georgia Tech product who’d played only 41 minutes as a Wizard before Game 3, had 10 points Monday. And at the end, Washington had exactly what it wanted — a Paul Pierce 3-pointer to tie. Only this time he missed. “That’s the way it goes,” he said. “Sometimes you make and sometimes you miss.”