It appears that the playoff series between the Washington Wizards and the Atlanta Hawks is about to heat up.
Some feathers were ruffled after a physical Game 1 between the two teams which prompted Atlanta forward Paul Millsap to state that he thought the Washington Wizards “were playing MMA”.
Wizards forward Markieff Morris suggested that Millsap get ready for more in Game 2.
“Just see where he’s at now,” Morris said according to The Washington Post. “I guess if that’s MMA, then what we do next might be double MMA.”
Morris said that the physicality will only increase as the series continues.
“They said we [were] wrestling so I guess they don’t have a choice but to come out and play tougher,” Morris said according to The Post. “It is what is. We ain’t going to stop our intensity because of what they say. We’re going to keep playing as hard as possible and playoff basketball.”
Morris also addressed Millsap’s complaint that the officials were letting Washington get away with too much during the game.
“It’s the playoffs, man,” Morris said. “They shot 39 free throws. How much more do you want? I guess if we’re playing MMA, they’re giving y’all the fouls. So you know, that didn’t change. We just want to stay aggressive. That’s all we want to do. Not worry about what they’re saying.”
Wizards guard John Wall agreed; “Yeah, totally, c’mon. We shot what, something [like] 17 free throws? To [their] 39. If we [were] playing MMA, it looked like they got most of the calls. We didn’t.”
Hawks’ center Dwight Howard welcomes more physicality.
“It’s fine,” Howard told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “If they allowed both teams to play as physical, I would love that. We have to continue to play no matter what happens. We can’t get involved with the refs or anything like that. We just have to focus in on what we can control. If we play hard, we should win the game.”
Millsap didn’t engage in a back-and-forth but things should be interesting entering Game 2. Millsap and Morris jawed back and forth to close out Game 2 as did Wall and Hawks’ guard Dennis Shroeder.
“I think it’s important that we control the other two guys, [Bradley] Beal and Wall,” Millsap said Monday per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They are extensive scorers. I’m not going to turn this into a personal battle between me and Morris.
“That’s what he wants me to do, take all the focus off the team and put it on him. I’m not going to do that. I’ve been in the league too long. It’s about the team and stopping those two guys, the head of the snake which is John Wall, and we’ll give ourselves a really good chance to win.”
Morris responded to Millsap’s statements about Wall and Beal.
“I heard Millsap saying they don’t want Brad and John to score as much and they want to let us [other Wizards] score — basically is what he’s saying,” Morris said according to The Post. “We’re going to adjust to that real well. We’re going to stay physical and stay playing MMA basketball.
“I’m worried about my team,” Morris added. “It ain’t between me and him [Millsap]. I’m worried about winning. That’s it. I could care less what he says.”
Get your popcorn ready for Game 2.