It’s hard not to get lost in the thoughts of your future. Just thinking about what potentially could be is dangerous if you don’t keep enough focus on the present. That’s something the Washington Wizards must keep in mind going in to Wednesday night’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.
That could be difficult considering they may now be facing a considerably easier path to the Eastern Conference Finals. With a loss Tuesday night, the top-seeded Boston Celtics are currently down 0-2 to the eighth-seeded Chicago Bulls; if the Wizards win their own series against the Hawks, they’d match-up against the winner of the Celtics-Bulls series which looks increasingly winnable by the day. But it’s important for this promising Washington team to not get too ahead of themselves. The Wizards are still only up one game against the Hawks, and you can be certain that Atlanta will be fighting for that same potential second round match-up.
Wednesday night’s game will be in D.C., which gives Washington, who are 30-11 at home this season, a big advantage tonight. But in order for them to secure a win tonight they’ll need the continued success of their star point guard, John Wall.
Wall is fresh off a career-best playoff performance that fueled the Wizards over the Hawks Sunday night (highlights featured above). He was dominant throughout the entire game and, at times, looked almost unstoppable when matching up against Hawks guard Dennis Schröder.
Wall went on to put up 32 points, 14 assists and 4 rebounds, while shooting 12-24 from the field.
His game was also highlighted by the “M-V-P” chants he received on two separate trips to the line Sunday night, though Wall seems to have a realistic take on his MVP odds. He, like many others, believes that the race is ultimately a two-man race between James Harden and Russell Westbrook, with himself, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Isaiah Thomas fairly close behind.
He spoke on the matter following Game 1:
“I won’t be finishing first…I’ve still got some climbing to do.”
Morris seemed took a page straight out of Patrick Beverly’s playbook, finding every which way to annoy/frustrate Millsap throughout the entirety of this game. That basically just means he played overtly physical during every defensive possession, but his work was more than effective.
Millsap was held to only 19 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist, where as Morris tallied 21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, 2 assists and 1 steal with a +/- of +18, while shooting 8-19 from the field. Not exactly what one would generally expect in this match-up.
Millsap commented on Morris’, as well as Washington’s defensive play as a whole following the game:
“The difference in the game was we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA.”
Morris responded to Millsap’s comment with some words of his own:
“If they thought that was MMA, what happens next might be double MMA.”
If Morris’ comments are to be believed, we may be in store for quite the battle Wednesday night. Both teams seem to hold a certain amount of distaste for each other (which is quite odd considering this is only Game 2 of this series), so that hopefully means both side will be bringing their ‘A’ game.
We’ll just have to watch to see which side comes out on top.
Tip-off for this games is scheduled for 7:00 pm EST at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C., and it will be nationally televised on NBA TV.