WASHINGTON (AP)De’Andre Hunter’s three-point play with 1:07 remaining put Atlanta ahead to stay, and the Hawks held off the Washington Wizards 122-120 on Wednesday night despite a career-high 43 points by Kristaps Porzingis.
The teams will finish the two-game set in Washington on Friday night.
After Hunter put the Hawks up 117-114, Bradley Beal made just one of two free throws with 52.7 seconds left for Washington. Beal then stole the ball from Trae Young but couldn’t convert on the break, and Hunter’s two free throws pushed the lead to four.
Then Beal was called for traveling, one of several mistakes he made in the fourth quarter as the focus of the offense shifted toward him and away from Porzingis.
“Happy with the effort and proud of, really as much as anything tonight, in my mind for our team, was about just competing,” Hawks coach Quin Snyder said. “I thought we really competed.”
Porzingis made all five of his shot attempts in the fourth – including four 3-pointers – but his last-second 3 only cut the final deficit to two. He finished 17 of 22 from the field, 7 of 10 beyond the arc.
“He was unstoppable tonight,” Snyder said. “When he’s that big and he’s making contested 2s. I thought we gave him a few 3s.”
Young led Atlanta with 28 points and 10 assists. He shot 11 of 14 from the field.
“I’m glad my offensive game matched my defense tonight,” Young said.
Beal finished with 24 points on 8-of-19 shooting – he was 1 of 6 in the final quarter – and Kyle Kuzma had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards.
Atlanta remained in sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. Washington had a chance to tie the Hawks with a win – and if Atlanta had lost, Toronto would have had a chance to take over the No. 8 spot later Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Hawks trailed by as many as 15 points, but after a 14-0 run spanning the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth, they were up 100-94. Washington responded with 11 straight points of its own, and it was tight the rest of the way.
The Wizards were on the second night of a back-to-back after winning at Detroit on Tuesday.
“I would like us to be a little bit tougher honestly,” Porzingis said. “We give ourselves some discounts somewhere. Yes it’s true. Of course we have four games in five days and it’s hard and we were on the road yesterday, but we cannot put that in our minds. It’s not going to help us.”
Hawks: Atlanta had seven players score in double figures. Dejounte Murray had 17 points and Hunter added 15.
Wizards: Washington had 19 turnovers to Atlanta’s 11. … Monte Morris (back) returned for the Wizards but did not start. He scored five points in 16:29.
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