Wall, Beal lead Wizards past Hawks; Rockets take 2-0 lead

Wall made up ground by going 12-of-15 in the second game, and he chose to be a bit more aggressive since his outside shot wasn't working. One, they played hellacious and disciplined defense. "I'm sure they're going to be [ticked]".

DeMar DeRozan had 23 points, Serge Ibaka added 13 of his 16 in the second half and Jonas Valanciunas had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who improved to 5-1 when playing Game 2 of a playoff series on their home court. That only happened because Gortat had been frustrating Howard up until that point, and Howard apparently has no idea how to retaliate other than to put his head down and resort to pushing and shoving like a petulant child.

Throughout the regular season, Washington struggled to produce when its reserves were out on the floor.

HOUSTON - James Harden scored 35 points and the Houston Rockets overcame 51 points from Russell Westbrook in a triple-double, clawing back from a double-digit deficit for victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.

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It has left Atlanta looking like a deer in headlights in these first two games, and I don't see that changing even as the series shifts to Atlanta.

In 2015, the team won 60 games and eclipsed the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first spot in the Eastern Conference, kind of like what the Boston Celtics did this season. Klay Thompson was 6 of 17 with 16 points and CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard were hardly were the dynamic scoring duo for Portland they'd been combining for 75 points only three days earlier.

"We think we play small ball better than anybody in the league", he said from the podium.

"I thought he has been great both games", Brooks said after Game 2. Including the playoffs, Washington has won five straight against the Hawks. Is it even possible for Atlanta to stop John Wall and Bradley Beal?

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Notes: Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas says the days since his younger sister was killed in a auto crash have been the hardest of his life. Howard had six points and seven rebounds. Even though the Wizards made big improvements this season, particularly on the offensive, they still finished 25th in free throw rate.

Wall and Beal scored 20 of Washington's final 21 points in the foul-plagued game after the Wizards trailed 89-88 with 6:03 remaining.

"It was a tricky game to coach because you were coaching foul trouble", said Wizards coach Scott Brooks. Strangely, after Muscala subbed in for Howard with 3:38 to play in the third and the Hawks leading 73-67, Howard did not appear again, totaling just 20 minutes.

About 30 seconds later, Howard picked up his fourth foul, while Kent Bazemore was at four entering the last quarter, too.

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The Bulls, post-All-Star break (and post-Taj Gibson trade), ranked in the back half of the league in offensive rebound percentage. A "Why Not Us?" mentality so to speak when faced with the question of if they feel they can compete with the Celtics.

The Blazers need their guard to carry the load, and both Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum couldn't repeat their massive performances from Game 1.

  • Jill Young