Away from the arena, Hawks fans will have opportunities to unite throughout the postseason with Verizon's "High Voltage Fridays" in the metro area, and Bud Light's watch parties for road games at Hudson Grille Brookhaven (Game 1) and Benchwarmers in Atlanta (Game 2). Michael Falgoust (a must-follow for the series) tweeted several examples of Howard's soft coverage on the ball handler that led to wide-open pull-up shots for John Wall from midrange, his bread and butter.
In a rough-and-tumble, foul-filled game, Bradley Beal took over in the fourth quarter with 16 of his 31 points, including a key late 3-pointer, helping the Washington Wizards beat the Atlanta Hawks 109-101 on Wednesday night for a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series.
The Wizards tool control with a 38-28 third quarter, where Wall scored 15. Meanwhile, the Wizards are 3-6 ATS in their last nine home games, 6-2 ATS in their last eight games against the Eastern Conference and 7-0 ATS in their last seven Conference Quarterfinals games. And the Bulls, who seemed seriously dysfunctional at times this season, now get new life and a chance to enjoy Dwyane Wade's playoff savvy. Now, with ball movement not as heavily featured and four of the five starters from the 2014-15 60-win Hawks playing elsewhere, Atlanta's offense struggles most through most games. Conscious that he couldn't do it all himself, Wall embraced the role as defensive stopper and facilitator on Sunday.
Atlanta's defense struggled to stop Wall and Bradley Beal in Game 1. "The start of the season was not the way we wanted to start, so you're looking like, 'I hope we're not going through the same process as past year.' To be back in the playoffs ... couldn't ask for (anything) better". I'm not going to turn this into a personal battle between me and Morris. Both teams shot an eye-covering 33.3 percent from the field.
"The difference in the game was we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA", Millsap said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
What we don't know is whether this was a clear strategy by the Wizards or if it was just how things shook out in the natural flow of the game. "Usually the aggressor is rewarded".
Patterson shot 43.8 percent from three over his last 20 games of the season and will hope to ride that momentum into the playoffs. He finished with seven points and 14 rebounds. Wall created all sorts of separation, made it look like he was going to take a midrange jumper and then lobbed a pass right to Gortat for an easy two points.
The crowd was also amped, chanting M-V-P at Wall during multiple occasions.
"I just got to be more aggressive", Millsap said.
"He just played basketball", Budenolzer said. This series, which will put him up against John Wall on both ends, will be something of a baptism by playoff fire for the young guard. Morris grinned slightly when explaining later that he told Millsap to "shut up" before the half ended with Atlanta in front by three points.
"When he's playing as well as he did today for us, we're unstoppable", Wall said of Morris.
On the positive side, the Hawks got a significant boost from the bench 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.