Marcin Gortat: Marcin Gortat double-doubles in Game 1 win

On Washington's next possession, Wall crossed over Kent Bazemore and got to the rim where he finished with a reserve layup. John Wall did not score in the first half but was able to score 22 points in the second half, complementing Bradley Beal's 28 points. Despite teammate Brandon Jennings' Players' Tribune essay making the case for Wall as MVP, Washington's four-time All-Star broke it down as Russell Westbrook vs. James Harden, with Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas and himself in the next tier. Moments later, Wall drained a three from the top of the key.

The crowd was also amped, chanting M-V-P at Wall during multiple occasions.

Jason Smith: I find Smith to be wildly irritating as a basketball player, but he's sneakily important to what the Wizards do. "When I see people telling me that Dwight [Howard] did this, this and that, at the end of the day, I know what this kid is gonna bring to the table and I have to guard him for at least three more games". "We started to get a lot of stops out in transition and I got into a rhythm of knocking down shots and being more aggressive".

It was a blockbuster performance from Wall, and if his importance to the Wizards wasn't already clear, it was brought into ideal focus today.

All five Wizards starters scored double digits in points as power forward Markieff Morris scored 21 points with seven rebounds, center Marcin Gortat had a double-double of 14 points with 10 rebounds and small forward Otto Porter Jr. scored 10 points with nine rebounds.

The same could be said about Wall, who was simply electric in Game One. However, the antiquated thinking of old-school coaches and players often prevails: You have a job, you play every day unless you're actually injured-maintain the integrity of the game!

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

Millsap said it "just two guys playing hard - just two guys playing hard".

Millsap was also the recipient of a few wayward limbs when both teams were scrambling for loose balls.

That physical play didn't show up at the free throw as Washington went to the charity stripe 39 times, compared to only 17 attempts for the Hawks, in Washington's 114-107 victory. "They were physical. When the game is like that, we have to match their physicality". "All the people who don't believe in us, that's "they.' You've got to keep 'they" outcha life".

He isn't complaining, saying this is "the best I've felt in a long time". "That's high level All-Star game".

John Wall: This team rises and falls with Wall.

It's a small perk, but if the Wizards do beat the Hawks, they won't want to come into a matchup with the Celtics, assuming the Celtics win the series, coming off a lengthy rest.

Not that a deep rotation will ever be used in the NBA Playoffs, but Washington will need better contributions out of its sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth-men to go far in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. We can't have a guy like Morris with 20.

John Wall is a superstar. But the Wizards, seeded fourth in the East after missing the playoffs previous year, out-scored Atlanta 38-28 in the third and led by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter.

"We're still salty about it", Beal said.

They're certainly tough. There's no doubting that.

Budenholzer told reporters that Sefolosha is "completely healthy" but that he will stick with Prince in the starting lineup.



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