• The Eastern conference playoff picture got just that little bit clearer on Wednesday as two teams secured key 3-2 leads in their respective series. Along with that, rivalries all heated up a little bit more as well.

    Despite not having any James Hardens or Russell Westbrooks to thrill us with explosive stat lines, these players played their hearts out and that is something we can always appreciate.

    Let’s break down some of the numbers that were put on Wednesday night.

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    Atlanta Hawks 99 – Washington Wizards 103, Washington leads series 3-2

    The Wizards were at home and Bradley Beal made sure that he took care of business in “his house”. The once oft-injured guard led Washington with 27 points, on 11-of-22 shooting from the field. He also added five rebounds, an assist, three steals, and three blocks. Not just a pure scorer in this one, huh? Beal’s backcourt buddy, John Wall, did “John Wall things” with his double-double production of 20 points, six rebounds, 14 dimes, and a steal.

    Otto Porter looked good in this game and was able to deliver a valuable across-the-board performance. Porter played 31 minutes and scored 17 points, grabbed five boards, had one assist, hit two treys, got two steals, and one block. Marcin Gortat was quiet once again in this game with five points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks.

    Dwight Howard was hampered by foul trouble and could not put up a strong showing. He ended the game with five points, 10 rebounds, a steal, and a block.

    Dennis Schroder was one of the bright spots for the Hawks in this game. He dropped an impressive 29 points, five triples, 11 assists, and two steals. Paul Millsap was also productive with a double-double of his own, notching 21 points, 11 boards, but no threes, steals, or blocks.

    Atlanta’s bench gave a lackluster effort. Kent Bazemore played 23 minutes off the bench but was limited to just six points on 3-of-12 shooting from the field.

    If there’s a team that’s got enough junkyard dog in them to force a Game 7 against the Wizards, it’s the Hawks. “One game at a time”, as they say. Mike Budenholzer and his boys will need to make some adjustments and will need to make a strong effort on D to at least, slow down Bradley Beal and/or John Wall, which of course, as we all know is something easier said than done.

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    Chicago Bulls 97 – Boston Celtics 108, Boston leads series 3-2

    Avery Bradley had arguably his best two-way game of the series. He put up an excellent effort on the defensive end but also was able to chip in 24 points on offense. Bradley shot the ball well, knocking down 11-of-19 of his shots from the field. He added six rebounds, two treys, an assist, and a steal to round out his line for the night.

    Isaiah Thomas made just 10 percent of his shot attempts from downtown (1-of-10) but still managed to end the game with 24 points of his own. IT was a sharpshooter from the free throw line as he nailed all 11 of his attempts from there.

    Another X-Factor in the Bulls win in this game was Al Horford, who ended up flirting with a triple-double. Al scored 21 points, pulled down seven rebounds, and handed out nine assists.

    Gerald Green faded into obscurity, scoring just two points in 12 minutes, despite his starting role. He was outplayed by Kelly Olynyk, who dropped a playoff career-high of 14 points. At the end of the day, it didn’t really matter where the production came from, really, as long as they were able to slow down Chicago’s stars enough to carve out the win.

    Speaking of Chicago’s stars, Dwyane Wade gave this game everything he had left in his aging tank. He logged a whopping 35 minutes, scoring 26 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and handing out eight assists. Unfortunately, his vintage performance was not enough to carry the Bulls on his shoulders.

    Jimmy Butler played a relatively quiet 39 minutes on the floor, finishing the game with 14 points, eight rebounds, and six assists.

    Rajon Rondo was “going to try” to play in Game 5 but was ruled out before the game started. If the Bulls want a shot at upsetting the East’s top-seeded team and advance, they’re going to need their spitfire guard to make a miraculous recovery and hopefully have some of his spunk rub off on their younger players.

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