On the next possession, John Wall found Bradley Beal who curled off a screen for a three-pointer for the dagger.
The Hawks looked poised to take control of the game in the second half when several key Wizards players fell into foul trouble.
The 2017 National Basketball Association playoffs feature an Eastern Conference first-round playoff series clash between the No. 4 seed Washington Wizards and the No. 5 seed Atlanta Hawks as the series reopens for Game 2 Wednesday, April 19 at Verizon Center.
Morris’ play was a major boost for Washington; he had 21 points and 7 rebounds in his first career playoff game, while Millsap had 19 points and 2 rebounds. The guard’s effective field goal percentage (77.8 percent) was light-years ahead of his regular season performance (48.2 eFG percent). “He’s a tremendous competitor and he plays with toughness and he gets shots – 32 and 14, that’s high level All-Star game”.
When one of his four 3-pointers caromed waywardly before ending up in the basket, Wall shrugged to the Verizon Center crowd as if to say, “just my luck”.
The Golden State Warriors headlined Sunday’s action, opening their Western Conference first-round series as prohibitive favorites against the Portland Trail Blazers. He’ll make mincemeat of Atlanta’s backcourt even if he decides to take it easy this series. However, the streak I would pay more attention to is the three straight wins the Wizards have over the Hawks this season.
That offense from Wall, Beal and Morris was enough to offset 25 points from Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder and 19 from Paul Millsap, who wasn’t pleased with Washington’s physicality and exchanged words with Morris going into halftime. However, Atlanta won four in a row with a starting lineup that included Tim Hardaway Jr. and Prince before resting several regulars in the regular-season finale after locking up the fifth seed.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said Millsap and center Dwight Howard can be better inside than they were in Game 1. Atlanta will keep doing what it does. Fair or foul, his comments set the tone for the rematch.
It was an ugly game at times that featured 55 total fouls and 71 combined free-throw attempts, but Washington did what it took to pull it out. As a team, Washington had 22 assists and 11 turnovers, compared to Atlanta’s mark of 17 assists and 18 turnovers.
“The difference in the game was we were playing basketball, and they were playing MMA”, Millsap said, frustrated after one of the grimiest 114-107 games you ever will witness. “We had our chances but fell short”. Atlanta is looking for a third consecutive trip to the second round, and finished the season on an uptick after a seven-game slide in March. He finished with seven points and 14 rebounds. Beal scored 16 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter, including a dagger 3 in the final minute. Their defensive indifference, which caused Coach Scott Brooks to compare their high-scoring affairs to “old-school ABA games”, turned back into the grit that defined most of the year. “He didn’t shoot the ball well and he didn’t give in to a bad shooting night. The game rewards you”. Howard had six points and seven rebounds. He averaged 14.5 points per game, but he’s still a volume shooter with a sub-40 mark from 3. The Wizards were able to play great defense and still play well offensively.