WASHINGTON — John Wall figured the credit went to the down-the-stretch defense displayed by his Washington Wizards.

Neither Dennis Schroder nor Coach Mike Budenholzer found any flaws with the way their Atlanta Hawks handled things late.

Either way, the odd manner in which Atlanta seemed to allow the final half-minute or so to slip away while trailing – not fouling Washington to try to extend things; passing around the ball, instead of shooting it, as the clock headed toward zero – left the Wizards on the verge of closing out the teams’ Eastern Conference first-round playoff series.

Back at home, and back in charge, Bradley Beal scored 27 points, and Wall added 20 points and 14 assists, leading Washington to a 103-99 victory in Game 5 on Wednesday night for a 3-2 series lead.

“I thought they were going to play the foul game – or at least try to trap. But they let us run the clock down,” Wall said, noting that he felt as if he and his teammates finished “with the best scrambling defense we had.”

Schroder led the Hawks with 29 points, making a career high-tying five 3s, and 11 assists. But after his basket from beyond the arc pulled Atlanta within 101-99 with 1:10 left, Wall responded with a 21-foot pull-up jumper. Neither team scored the rest of the way.

“It was right there,” Schroder said. “We’ve just got to be better in crunch time.”

Game 6 is scheduled at Atlanta on Friday night.


WARRIORS: General Manager Bob Myers fully expects Steve Kerr to find a solution to his debilitating health issues and return to the bench without being forced out of coaching altogether because of complications from two back surgeries.

“Look, what he’s facing is fixable,” Myers said. “It’s just finding the issue and solving it. … I’m confident we will.”

ROCKETS: The team owner, Leslie Alexander, was fined $100,000 by the NBA for confronting a referee during live game action.

The incident occurred Tuesday in the final minute of the first quarter during the Rockets’ 105-99 victory against Oklahoma City. Alexander got up out of his courtside seat and walked toward Bill Kennedy.

Alexander then said something to Kennedy before turning around and heading back to his seat.