Playing a day after 22-year-old sister Chyna Thomas was killed in a auto accident in their home state of Washington, Thomas led the Celtics with 33 points.
At the same time, Howard is the strongest player on the court, so if the Wizards feel his physical presence a bit more in Game 2, that will only help the Hawks. This series between Southeast Division rivals has been feisty so far. Dwight Howard, who signed a three-year, $70.5 million contract to play for his hometown Hawks, did not have the Atlanta playoff debut the Hawks had hoped for. Let John Wall take over and stay out of the way.
WASHINGTON (AP) - After John Wall told Markieff Morris what to expect in his National Basketball Association playoff debut, the Washington Wizards' All-Star guard showed everyone his postseason best.
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. Wall has averaged 18.5 points per game (PPG), 8.8 assists per game (APG) and 5.3 rebounds per game (RPG).
Atlanta offense lags behind Washington's up-tempo attack, but both teams finished among the league leaders in forcing turnovers. Atlanta's best player, Paul Millsap, has struggled throughout the season against Markieff Morris.
Millsap called it "just two guys playing hard - just two guys playing hard".
Wall did just that. Coincidentally, teams in National Basketball Association history to win Game 1 of a best-of-seven series have gone on to win 77 percent of the time. Howard shot just six times in Game 1 and was outplayed by Gortat. However, Atlanta only managed four 3-point field goals on the night, shooting 20 percent (4-of-20). However, Atlanta won four in a row with a starting lineup that included Tim Hardaway Jr. and Prince before resting several regulars in the regular-season finale after locking up the fifth seed. Because of their defense, they hung with the Hawks, despite their early shooting woes, while playing Atlanta's slow style. The lackluster play from backup point guard Malcolm Delaney has led head coach Mike Budenholzer to try Bazemore out in the position, but it has not gone as planned. Otherwise, we could be looking at a series sweep at the hands of the Wizards. "It's all love of the game".
Also, the host team Wizards fans and the people of Washington can watch this Game 2 on CSN+, NBATV and Listen to 1500 AM. Game 2 took nearly three hours to complete because of the absurd amount of whistles being blown.
There were 29 personal fouls in the opening 24 minutes, 55 for the game.
"Does he have to have 25 points to say that he took over a quarter?" Wizards forwards Otto Porter Jr. and Markieff Morris combined for 9 fouls, 7 points and 7 rebounds in 43 minutes of action. He patted his chest after two consecutive fourth-quarter baskets and said, "I got this!" The game was in the balance inside of five minutes, then Wall just took over. The Hawks can win a game or two at home, but this feels like a series that Washington will win in five or six games.