Wizards backup forward Ian Mahinmi injured his calf during the final game of the regular season and could miss the remainder of the series. But the Wizards, seeded fourth in the East after missing the playoffs past year, out-scored Atlanta 38-28 in the third and led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter. Paul Millsap thought Morris was going to screen for Porter, but instead he spun and Wall lofted a pass just out of Millsap's reach.
Gortat's teammates recognized how well he played in Game 1, especially the guards he sets his league-leading 6.2 screen assists per game for.
Hardaway, 25, averaged a career-high 14.5 points per game this season and was even more productive in the 30 games that he started, averaging 17.5 points in those contests. In this series, he's trying to vanquish those woes and the irritation he still carries from losing to the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2015.
Brooks is especially proud of one stat that best explains the Wizards: During the regular season, they ranked second in the National Basketball Association in scoring after forcing a missed shot, averaging 1.166 points per possession. Wall has averaged 18.5 points per game (PPG), 8.8 assists per game (APG) and 5.3 rebounds per game (RPG). However, Rondo has improved since the All-Star break, averaging 10.8 points and 7.1 assists per game since then. With that said, with a John Wall on the floor and knowing how close they were to an East Finals appearance just two seasons ago, I see him taking his game to an even higher level and submitting his argument as a top 3 point guard in the National Basketball Association.
Which team will win Game 1? Not only did he turn Washington's season around, but he reinserted himself into the elite player discussion.
The officials let both teams play play inside the paint, which looked to frustrate Millsap. There was plenty of physicality, which certainly wore down Atlanta through the afternoon, as Washington would go to the free throw line 39 times.
The Wizards probably can't expect Morris to play at that high of a level the whole series, but if he can at least play somewhere near that level, it's going to be a very short series.
The same could be said about Wall, who was simply electric in Game One. He was the only player in the starting lineup who did not have playoff experience, and he was going to be tasked with guarding Atlanta's best player, Paul Millsap.
That's another deceiving thing about the Wizards. But they're not. They have an edge about them.
He made all three foul shots after Millsap ran into him on a three just before the halftime buzzer and had words with his foe on the way out.
"We're still salty about it", Beal said. There were whispers circulating that Brooks was hired to lure free agent Kevin Durant to come play for him in Durant's home town. He has been battling a quad injury, but is expected to be a go today.
Schroder and Howard were paired in the pick and roll defensive action on 10 Wizards possessions through which the Wizards produced 13 points. "We started getting a lot of stops, getting out in transition, and I got into a rhythm knocking down shots", he said.
Plus, we haven't seen a member of the Wizards take over a playoff game like that in years.