emfizz.com April 27, 2017

Washington Wizards start in the right direction in Game 1

20 April 2017, 10:26 | Andy Ferguson

Wall, Beal healthy as Wizards, Hawks meet again in playoffs

Seven former Cats gear up for NBA Playoffs

Wall is the most high profile former Cat to make the postseason and will lead the Washington Wizards in their first round matchup against the Atlanta Hawks.

But if the Wizards win this first series, John Wall will nearly certainly be the one who leads them to victory.

Help came in the form of 22 points from Beal and 21 from Morris, who also had four blocked shots. I know the stat plus/minus is not the greatest statistic in the National Basketball Association, but I think it has value in showing if a player is a very bad defender.

A collective disdain for the officiating galvanized an announced capacity crowd.

Wall scored 15 points in the third quarter and finished with 14 assists in the best playoff performance of his young career. But if the Hawks won, it would be unprecedented.

Markieff Morris told Millsap to shut up during Game 1, escalating a physical showdown between the power forwards.

"I just got to be more aggressive", Millsap said.

Exiled from a quagmire of mediocrity in Phoenix, Morris was so bad some were saying it would take a first round pick for the Suns to be able to move a deal that is more than reasonable by today's salary cap standards.

"It's the playoffs, man".

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Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said Millsap and center Dwight Howard can be better inside than they were in Game 1. "That's what you want to be doing going into the playoffs".

"The difference in the game was we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA", Millsap said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "You know he puts so much pressure whenever he has those outlets and he knocks those shots down, it is kind of hard to (cover him)". "When the game's like that, we've just got to match their physicality". Hawks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. had an abysmal opening game - he was just 2-for-11 from the field. After Millsap was called for a shooting foul on Morris, the two players had a verbal exchange before both teams went back to the locker rooms. It was clear that he was the best player on the court.

Saddled with three fouls, Millsap headed to the bench at the 2:54 remaining in the first half.

Shortly after the third quarter began, Morris and Wall combined for the knockout blow.

"That is also part of the reason why we've been good this year".

"We were so locked in all week", Butler said. Below is a highlight video from that game in case you missed the action. He would coast in first or second gear for a moment, and then go zero to 60 in the blink of an eye. Both dealt with foul trouble, which limited their minutes to around 20 apiece. The 26-year-old broke his playoff career high in points before the fourth quarter even started. Atlanta's best chance seemed to be another push from the bench while Wall sat to start the fourth, but three quick Hawks turnovers saw them lose ground, rather than gain.

After losing their starting front court, the team lost its lead.

The Wizards held their nerve down the stretch, closing the game on an 18-7 run, with their role players stepping in making big plays. "We're in a little bit of a unique position where, at least going into Game 1, the plan is to keep a deep rotation and play a lot of guys and continue to massage that".

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