It took balance but the Atlanta Hawks put the Washington Wizards on notice on Monday night.
Lead by John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards were thought by many to be the only team that could take the Cleveland Cavaliers’ out of the winners circle of the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The duo showed why so much emphasis is placed on their talent on Monday night.
Beal scored 32 points, and John Wall put together a strong outing with 22 points and 10 assists.
The pair wasn’t enough to take out the Hawks who functioned as a complete unit.
By downing the Wizards 111-101 in what was an ugly game, the Atlanta stood up to state that overlooking them in this series is a mistake.
As they tied their best-of-seven series at 2 games apiece, the Hawks found a way to have seven players score in double digits.
Center Dwight Howard picked the right time to turn it on as he double-doubled before the half. He finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds.
Hawks leader Paul Millsap chipped in 19 and shook his “crybaby” tag once and for all.
With the momentum in the series clearly swinging towards the south, Washington has to refocus on the task at hand if they are to take another step forward.
Wall and Beal may be dismissing the idea that the Hawks are their rival right now, but the fact remains that Atlanta has landed two serious body blows in this battle.
If the Hawks do indeed have their number, the chances of a Cavaliers NBA Finals return just got a whole lot stronger.
Watch: Dwight Howard Leads Atlanta Hawks To Victory