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

According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, the Wizards are favored at home, as they are getting odds of -5 points against the Hawks. But if the Wizards can defeat their first round opponent, the Atlanta Hawks, then they should have the center at their disposal for the rest of the postseason. But Brooks coached Oklahoma City to the conference finals in 2010-11 with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and the NBA Finals in 2011-12.

Brooks had wondered about the Wizards' spirit as the season wound down.

While there are only seven former Cats in this year's National Basketball Association playoffs, it may not be too long before United Kingdom fans get to witness Karl-Anthony Towns go head-to-head against DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis in a high stakes playoff matchup. Durant signed with Golden State and the Wizards were left with a new coach and some shattered hopes to start their 2016-17 campaign.

The Washington Wizards are hosting the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. Though the Wizards let the Hawks stay around for far too long, they seem to have an extra gear that Atlanta just can't get to.

Washington started the season 2-8 and were just 7-13 after 20 games. The Wizards started 3-9.

Game 2 is scheduled for Wednesday.

-Rookie first-round picks Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry showed flashes of their potential, especially down the stretch. Washington, 30-11 at home, won the most recent matchup, 104-100 on March 22. The Wizards were also 18-5 from January 1 right up to the All-Star break.

"John can take over games, he can take over quarters, he can take over plays", coach Scott Brooks said.

The Wizards met the Hawks three times in the regular season, winning two of those match-ups with one win being by 26 points in Atlanta. Morris was playing in his first playoff game. Really. Howard bounced back in his first year in Atlanta, and he's now decidedly an above-average-to-pretty-damn-good National Basketball Association starting center. "We haven't done that all season, but this is the right time to do it".

Chicago made the playoffs nearly by default, and for long stretches of the season it appeared they had little interest in doing so. Sunday marked a full season for Millsap in the playoffs; it was his 82nd postseason game. Few players are more risky with a head of steam in pick-and-roll situations, and the Hawks might have made a mistake by dropping back and giving him room to see the floor.

His impact was felt from the jump, with seven points and five assists in the opening frame, but the Hawks not only weathered the storm, they made a late surge to lead by four after the first quarter. Gortat leads in rebounds with 10.4 while Ian Mahinmi leads in blocks with 0.8 per game.

But after the Wizards won 114-107 on Sunday, Millsap indicated that the Wizards turned the game into something closer to WWE's "SmackDown". The Wizards didn't achieve their regular season goal, but now they look to make a deep playoff run. Washington's defense kept them in it, however, holding Atlanta to 13/39 (33.3%) from the field and forcing 12 Hawks turnovers. He finished the game with 32 points and 14 assists, proving he was the best player on the court. Beal has averaged 21 PPG, 3.3 APG and 3 RPG.

Brooks didn't panic. He wasn't even that anxious, and since December 1, the Wizards have the best record in the Eastern Conference.

-The Hawks have come away with some major wins against the league's elite teams, such as sweeping the season-series against the Houston Rockets, defeating the San Antonio Spurs, the Toronto Raptors twice, the Boston Celtics twice, and the Cleveland Cavaliers three times.


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