Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Wall scores playoff-best 32 as Wizards beat Hawks in Game 1

Kristopher Love | 20 April, 2017, 06:14

The Atlanta people and the fans of Hawks can watch this game on FOX SPORTS SOUTHEAST, NBATV and Listen to WZGC-FM.

The Washington Wizards had a chance to finish as high as first in the Eastern Conference but dropped five of eight down the stretch and ended up No. 4 while earning the franchise's first division title since 1978-79.

The victor of the Wizards and Hawks series is scheduled to play the victor of the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls series.

Like Wall, he wasn't the only bright spot in the game for Washington.

- After 21 turnovers in Game 1, Atlanta had 18.

The Wizards tool control with a 38-28 third quarter, where Wall scored 15.

Paul Millsap and Markief Morris got right in each other's faces.

That being said, Atlanta can still win a few games in this series and possibly steal it all if they can continue to win on the glass. I guess if we're playing MMA, they're giving y'all the fouls. Atlanta will need to get more out of their big man and may look to get him more touches as they try and even the series tonight.

"I heard Millsap saying they don't want Brad and John to score as much and they want to let us [other Wizards] score - basically is what he's saying", Morris said according to The Post. CSN Mid-Atlantic's J.

Meanwhile, as Brooks noted, both teams were spatially challenged.

"John can take over games", Brooks said.

"Been getting a lot of treatment every day and doing the stuff I was doing before I had it", Wall said. "That's a sign of his toughness that he brings to our team".

-Beal had his share of open shots and mismatches but was indecisive.

The focus for the Wizards should be on building confidence in a series in which they have homecourt advantage against a team they were able to be beat three times during the regular season. Dennis Schroder did his best to keep pace with John Wall, though he's clearly outmatched. Just before halftime, Tim Hardaway Jr. held the ball at the top of the circle, apparently expecting Millsap to set a pick. He missed all six three-point attempts.

Plenty has changed about the Washington Wizards in the two years since a playoff series loss to the Atlanta Hawks, yet Bradley Beal harbors the same feelings.

Playing a day after 22-year-old sister Chyna Thomas was killed in a auto accident in their home state of Washington, Thomas led the Celtics with 33 points. However, Oubre was a team-worst -16 while Hardaway was -14, so both struggled to impact the final outcome. Hardaway may have shot 2 for 11 last game, but considering his growth this season, I see that performance as an off night and not something to be anxious about.

Which team will win Game 1? "It's just a good mix of guys that we're going to stick with". He praised the play of the bench, which includes former starter Kent Bazemore, Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Muscala, Mike Dunleavy and Jose Calderon.

Washington's bench is a glaring weakness. Early in the game, it was clear Atlanta had a problem.

Seven former Cats will take the court to represent seven different teams in this year's National Basketball Association playoffs.

Morris says the Wizards will only intensify their physical play. "He changed everything right away for us".

With Gortat adding more two-way prowess behind Morris - and Beal, Porter and Wall capable of erupting at any time - it's hard to argue with Wall.

Wall was just fine.

Atlanta's offensive improvement has coincided with a reduction in Howard's minutes late in the season, and Budenholzer seems intent on sticking with an extended rotation during the playoffs. Despite all of Atlanta's struggles and all the great things Washington did, this was a tight game.

ABOUT THE WIZARDS (49-33): Washington brushed off the slow finish to its season and is looking for a little revenge after losing to the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals two years ago.

Thabo Sefolosha, Atlanta's starting small forward for much of the season, did not appear in Game 1.

Gortat and Morris combined to finish plus 39 on the game.

He averaged 23.1 points on 45.1 percent shooting in 2016-17, the first time Wall averaged more than 20 points in his career.