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

Washington Wizards guard John Wall shoots between Atlanta Hawks forward Ersan Ilyasova, guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and center Dwight Howard during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday

They traded Jeff Teague for a draft pick to give the reins to Dennis Schroder, but hung on to expensive veterans. Feeding off Morris' hot start to the second half, Wall scored 15 points in the third quarter alone as Washington pulled away to take the series lead. Wall is particularly adept at finding Gortat around the rim - in the fourth quarter, the two connected for two more buckets around the basket. According to Elias, no other player has reached the 30-point plateau with double-digit assists in a regular season or playoff game against Atlanta in the last two seasons. Washington's starting power forward is known for his versatile, inside-out offensive game, but not widely known for his defense. 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.

The game swung wildly, particularly in the first half.

One Wizards player who didn't seem to have any trouble finding his postseason footing was Morris, who was making his playoff debut after 448 regular season National Basketball Association games.

The officials let both teams play play inside the paint, which looked to frustrate Millsap.

The Wizards were resilient in this one.

John Wall scored 32 points and dished out 14 dimes while committing just three turnovers.

Looking at the betting trends, the Hawks are 5-3 ATS in their last eight road games and 4-2 ATS in their last six games overall.

Sunday, April 16: Atlanta at Washington, 1 p.m.

Seven former Cats will take the court to represent seven different teams in this year's National Basketball Association playoffs.

The Hawks should have their way on the interior, with Millsap and Howard, aided by lengthy Bazemore and Ilyasova, but that's not a significant advantage after Millsap. A lot can change in two years. Neither Schroder nor Hardaway Jr.is known for their defensive prowess. He shot 40 percent from three on the season.

Wizards coach Scott Brooks recognized the situation and knew his role. Wall is becoming the star that Washington needs to go far in these Eastern Conference Playoffs.

The Hawks are led by Paul Milsap, who averaged 18.1 points per game in the regular season. The Hawks valued Al Horford for his versatility, but his 15 total rebounds during Cleveland's 4-0 sweep prompted a re-evaluation of Atlanta's deficiencies. Atlanta ranked ninth in the league in rebounding per game, while Washington ranked 22nd. Atlanta needs its wings to get it going because Beal may not have many games in the series where he shoots as poorly. Marcin Gortat had a nice double-double of 14 points with 10 rebounds while Otto Porter Jr. chipped in with 10 points as the Wizards shot 45 percent from the field as a team. Markieff Morris also isn't a particularly strong rebounder. Rather, it was when he jumped over the entire Hawks' bench like it was no big deal.

Will the Hawks ever have an answer for John Wall. Wall is a hard matchup for Atlanta, and the versatile point guard carved up the Hawks' defense on possession after possession.

Paul Millsap added second best 19 points. Frankly, it seemed like a miserable year in Chicago after management brought in veterans Rajon Rondo and Dwyane Wade and the team failed to gel.

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