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

19 April 2017

Come the 2nd round of the playoffs they will most likely face the Boston Celtics, which I'd take Boston in 7.

Wall scored 15 points in the third quarter and finished with 14 assists in the best playoff performance of his young career. There are few players in the entire conference who can slow Wall down over a seven-game series. But Butler overcame a united Garden crowd and led Chicago to the victory, scoring 23 points in the second half.

While Budenholzer felt his team needs to turn up the intensity to match the Wizards, Millsap seems to have said all he plans to say about Washington's Markieff Morris for the moment.

Story line: Washington was a great comeback story this season, shaking off a 2-8 start like it never happened and putting together the best regular season for the franchise in almost 40 years.

It starts with Millsap and Howard. They're a well-coached team that has great players - guys that know their roles very well.

Opponents know he'll also be a potent matchup problem if the Wizards advance. The turnovers were rampant and the Hawks could have clobbered the Wizards on the boards if they could have played with a higher level of focus.

It was a real step forward for the Wizards this season under new head coach Scott Brooks. "We didn't have to go big in the post anymore". I think the win that really helped was when we were in Brooklyn in early December and we were down nearly 20 points in the first half.

Even though the Wizards still fought hard, thanks in large part to some Paul Pierce heroics, the Hawks would go on to win the series in six.

"I think having them in the starting lineup has been good", Budenholzer said. Bradley Beal made three field goals and committed two fouls in the half. The 7-foot shot-blocker who starred at Kansas averaged 2.9 points and 2.4 boards in 8.5 minutes in his fourth National Basketball Association season. He's the most mild-mannered person that I've been around that has a competitive spirit. So, he changed our team a whole lot.

Oubre played well in his playoff debut, but all of the other reserves went missing for the majority of the game.

"I was just hoping that he would stick the landing". The team is good. "But if I'm into like that. if I'm scoring and my teammates are scoring, I'm always gonna be hype".

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The simple fact is the Nationals have owned the Braves in recent years.

JW: It means a lot.

"That's how I've been thinking this season", Wall told The Vertical. He's a tremendous competitor, and he plays with toughness and he gets shots. Then, good things started happening for us.

"He just played basketball", Budenolzer said. In the past, there were times where I'd be playing well and Brad would be injured, then Brad would come back and play well and I'd get injured. "It's fun and it's exciting that we're healthy". "If we need to adjust in a game, we will".

Game Two is in Washington on Wednesday. In fact, in the third quarter, the Wizards only had two of their 25 fast-break points.

Maybe the Atlanta Hawks finally figured things out.

"It put more pressure on me to be the main guy, to be the guy". Does that frustrate or motivate you?

Coming off three free throws to close out the first half down 48-45, Morris connected on a tying 24-foot jumper. What's the vibe around the team right now? "We had to take the challenge". Washington's All-Star turned the game flow in the third quarter, preventing the Atlanta Hawks from wrestling away home-court advantage. Not only is he one of the best players at his position, he's one of the best players in the league.

JW: We block all that out. Departures of veterans and growth of his own into that label now make the Wizards Wall's show more than ever. It's a brand-new record.

It's no secret that Gortat struggled down the stretch of the regular season. Do you enjoy that atmosphere and the challenge of being on the biggest stage? It gets no better.

"John can take over games", Brooks said. A worn out Celtics team is better for the Wizards than a fresh and well-rested Celtics team. I enjoy it; there's nothing more fun.