Wiz, Rockets both up 2-0
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — In a rough-and-tumble, foul-filled game, Bradley Beal took over in the fourth quarter with 16 of his 31 points, including a key late 3-pointer, helping the Washington Wizards beat the Atlanta Hawks 109-101 on Wednesday night for a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
John Wall earned chants of “M-V-P!” while finishing with 32 points and nine assists, including the dish to Beal for his shot from beyond the arc with 38 seconds remaining that sealed the win for the hosts.
Game 3 tips off Saturday in Atlanta at 5:30 p.m.
Washington, which trailed 78-74 entering the final period, won despite only a combined seven points from starting forwards Markieff Morris and Otto Porter Jr., who were both in foul trouble early.
The series now shifts to Atlanta for Game 3 on Saturday.
Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 27 points and 10 rebounds, and Dennis Schroder scored 23 points. But Dwight Howard had only seven rebounds, half his Game 1 total, and six points.
Millsap scored 14 points in the third quarter, including six during a 13-0 run by the Hawks that took them from a deficit to a 74-67 edge with a little more than 3¢ minutes left in that period. But Beal and Wall were too much in the fourth, with some help from backup point guard Brandon Jennings, who accounted for eight consecutive Wizards points during one stretch — making three baskets and assisting on another.
After Washington won the series opener over the weekend, Millsap bemoaned aloud about how things went, saying: “The difference in the game is we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA.”
That became a talking point during the off days, and perhaps affected the way Game 2 was called. It was hardly akin to a mixed martial arts bout, but the officials sure seemed determined to use their whistles upon seeing anything resembling a foul.
Whatever debate might be had about how justified all the calls were, one thing was clear: All of those interruptions disrupted the flow of the game.
Washington led 51-43 at halftime. More noteworthy: There were 29 personal fouls in the opening 24 minutes, 55 for the game.
There was plenty of complaining by the Wizards throughout, and when sixth man Kelly Oubre Jr. got No. 4 and joined Morris and Porter on the sideline, the team was whistled for a delay-of-game foul, its second, resulting in a technical.
About 30 seconds later, Howard picked up his fourth foul, while Kent Bazemore was at four entering the last quarter, too.
When another couple of calls went against Washington in the third quarter, many voices in the sellout crowd of 20,356 rose in unison for full-throated chants of derision directed at the officials.
Hawks: Shot 0 for 8 on 3-point attempts in the first half, and finished 4 for 20. … After saying they wanted to limit Washington’s transition game, the Hawks held the Wizards to 16 fast-break points, nine fewer than in Game 1. … Atlanta is in the playoffs for the 10th consecutive year, the longest current streak in the East.
Wizards: Porter scored his first basket of the game on a 20-foot jumper just 16 seconds into the second half — and less than 1¢ minutes later, he picked up his fourth foul and headed to the bench. … Backup C Ian Mahinmi sat out again with a strained left calf.
51 not enough for OKC
HOUSTON — James Harden scored 35 points and the Houston Rockets overcame 51 points from Russell Westbrook in the highest-scoring triple-double in playoff history, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-111 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round Western Conference playoff series.
Westbrook set a franchise playoff scoring record and added 13 assists and 10 rebounds. It was the sixth career playoff triple-double for Westbrook, who had an NBA-record 42 in the regular season.
But he shot just 4 for 18 in the fourth quarters as the Rockets clawed back from a double-digit deficit to surge ahead before holding on.
Game 3 is Friday night in Oklahoma City.
The game was tied before Houston scored 10 straight points with 3-pointers from Harden, Patrick Beverley and Eric Gordon to make it 114-104 with 1:22 remaining. Westbrook had four straight points to start a 7-1 run after that, but the Thunder wouldn’t get any closer.
This was a much different game than the series opener, when Houston routed the Thunder 118-87. On Wednesday night, Houston trailed by as many as 15 and didn’t take a lead until the fourth quarter.
The Rockets benefited from a balanced scoring attack, with Lou Williams adding 21, Gordon scoring 22 off the bench and Game 1 star Beverley chipping in 15.
The Rockets used a big run early in the fourth quarter to go on top for the first time in the game with about eight minutes remaining. Harden’s 3 about three minutes later made it 104-100.
Andre Roberson added a tip-in layup for the Thunder before two free throws by Westbrook tied it at 104-all with about 3 minutes left.
The Thunder led by three entering the fourth quarter and scored the first five points of the period, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Doug McDermott, to make it 94-86.
Oklahoma City went more than three minutes without scoring to allow Houston to take the lead. The Thunder had missed seven straight shots when Westbrook got them back on track with a layup with about eight minutes left.
The Thunder led by seven with about nine minutes left in the third quarter before Westbrook made four quick points to extend the lead to 79-68. Houston scored the next six points, but Oklahoma City answered with seven points in a row after that, with five from Westbrook, to extend the lead to 86-74 with about 3 minutes left in the quarter.
The Thunder led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but Houston had cut the lead to 68-62 at halftime.
Thunder: Westbrook was just two rebounds shy of a triple-double by halftime with 22 points and 10 assists. … Roberson was Oklahoma City’s second-leading scorer with 12 points. … Oklahoma City made just 7 of 30 3-pointers.
Rockets: Houston has won five in a row over Oklahoma City including regular-season games. … Capela had 10 rebounds. .. Harden made 18 of 20 free throws.
No regrets for Memphis coach
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — First-year Memphis coach David Fizdale knew the NBA would fine him for criticizing the officiating in the Grizzlies’ Game 2 loss to San Antonio.
Didn’t matter. This is the time to stand up — or go home.
The Grizzlies trail the Spurs 0-2, and Memphis has no room for errors in any aspect of a game.
“Players in general and coaches pull this card a lot,” Fizdale said Wednesday. “I’m not sitting here acting like I’m any more original than any other coach. But you’re fighting for your team and you’re fighting for your life in the playoffs, and you just don’t have room to let things go into the next year.”
The NBA fined the Grizzlies coach $30,000 on Wednesday morning for Fizdale’s rant after Memphis’ 96-82 loss to San Antonio in Game 2 of their first-round playoff series. Game 3 is tonight in Memphis.
Fizdale blasted the officiating in a nearly two-minute tirade during his postgame press conference Monday night. Fizdale called the work of veteran crew Danny Crawford, Rodney Mott and Bill Spooner “unprofessional” and “unacceptable” in a postgame interview that grew increasingly louder before he slammed his fist on a table and stormed off.
The trio of Crawford, Spooner and Mott have officiated more than 400 playoff games over careers that span more than two decades for each, but Fizdale was irate with their performance with Kawhi Leonard taking more free throws (19) than all his Grizzlies (15) despite Memphis attempting 17 more shots in the paint than San Antonio.
Gesture not a good idea
BOSTON — Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for making an obscene gesture during Boston’s first-round Game 2 loss to Chicago.
The league did not release video of the incident in announcing the fine Wednesday, but TNT’s cameras appeared to show Smart giving someone the middle finger after missing a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter Tuesday night.
Boston coach Brad Stevens said during a conference call earlier in the day that he was aware of the video, but he couldn’t tell exactly what Smart was doing in it. Though, he added that “if he made a gesture, it’s inappropriate.”
Smart played 27 minutes in the 111-97 loss, finishing with 13 points, eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
The Bulls lead the series 2-0. Game 3 is Friday in Chicago.