Whether you're up 3-0 in a series or battling it out in a Game 7, closeout games are typically the most difficult to win. You have the opposing team up against the ropes, and all you have to do is deliver the finishing blow.
The only problem is, the other team is rarely content with you coming in and ending their season. This is when you need your best players to step up and take games over. Remind your opponent how the series got to where it is.
Three years ago today, the Wizards had the Hawks on the brink in Game 6 as their first-round playoff series shifted back to Atlanta. Washington was coming off its best regular season in almost 40 years and a matchup with the hated Celtics awaited them.
Beal was terrific in the game, finishing with 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting, but it was Wall who stole the show. He poured in 42 points and dished out eight assists on 16-of-25 shooting to lead the Wizards to a 115-99 win.
Wall later revealed that before the game, he told Julio Jones, star wide receiver for the Falcons, he was going to get 40 and a win. He followed up on his word and Jones had a front-row seat to the greatness.
That would be the last season the Hawks were in playoff contention. Paul Millsap would go on to sign with the Nuggets in free agency, Atlanta traded Dwight Howard to the Hornets and they'd ultimately end up with the third overall pick in the following year's draft. The Hawks would ultimately trade down to the No. 5 pick to select Trae Young.
The Wizards, on the other hand, went on to battle the Celtics in an epic seven-game series. The home team won every game in the series, so Boston ended up moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals. They lost to the Cavaliers in five games.
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