Washington Wizards start in the right direction in Game 1

John Wall scored a career-high 32 points and Markeiff Morris netted 21 points as they rolled over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of their series.

Fortunately, both players practiced Tuesday and will play Wednesday night's Game 2 against the Hawks. Gortat scored eight points in the period as the Wizards stretched the lead out to eight and led, 51-43 at halftime. Below is a highlight video from that game in case you missed the action. Wall should be able to stay strong at home tonight and lead the Wizards to another comfortable win in Game 2. The officials took all of the flow out of the game as 29 fouls were committed in the first half (16 by Washington, 13 by Atlanta). If the Hawks can play sharper and under more control, they can return to Atlanta with home-court advantage. They have done some damage against Atlanta this season. The teams split the two regular season meetings in Atlanta with Washington winning the most recent meeting 112-86 on January 27. Keep an eye on the Hawks defense during this series as they will need to be stout in order to take down a good offensive club in the Wizards.

When Paul Millsap said after Game 1 that the Wizards weren't playing MMA, not basketball, he mostly inspired jokes. He justifiably was criticized for his Game 1 performance by Hawks fans.

"All you've got to do is win 16 games", Howard said. It was a bad showing for all five starters. Kelly Oubre Jr. is closely defending Tim Hardaway Jr. He needs to improve in the rest of the series.

"Not only is he one of the best players in his position". The Wizards' guards are going to carry the mail for them and Schroder needs to stop them.

HOUSTON - James Harden scored 37 points to outshine Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets pulled away in the third quarter and coasted to a 118-87 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

"When you're guarding an All-Star, all you have to do is focus on just making him take tough shots", Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. Still, even with that in mind, he wasn't the real problem in the Hawks' Game 1 loss.

He was much better in Game 2, going 6 for 12, including 2 of 5 from long range.

The Hawks went to their smaller lineups for most of the game and they did have some success with it, but it will be interesting to see if they change that tactic now that they're down 2-0 in the series. "He was more physical than me (Sunday), and if that's how we're going to play, then that's how we're going to play, and I've got to do a better job at that". If advanced metrics are more your thing, Calderon has had a negative defensive box score plus/minus every single season he has been in the NBA according to Basketball-Reference. I play with a lot of energy and intensity and when I'm not being aggressive like that and into it, I'm not a great player.

Speaking of that high-scoring backcourt, why was Thabo Sefolosha not given those minutes over Jose Calderon?

"Some of the looks he got were really good", said Budenholzer. It is worth noting, Sefolosha was banged up toward the end of the season, but all reports are that he is now healthy.

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