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Paul Millsap after Game 1 loss to Washington Wizards: ‘They were playing MMA’

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PHOTOGRAPH: Keith Allison/Flickr | Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks

The NBA Playoffs 2017 officially started with the Washington Wizards defeating the Atlanta Hawks, 114-107, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference playoffs. In a post-game interview, Hawks forward Paul Millsap describes the Wizards’ game as something closer to WWE’s “Smackdown.”

“The difference in the game was we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA,” Millsap told reporters, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They were physical. When the game is like that, we have to match their physicality. But again, we’ve got to go get some moves and bring them back to the court.”

Paul Millsap says referees favor Wiz in Game 1 loss

As expected, the physicality in the NBA playoffs is more intense than the regular season games. In the East playoffs, the first-round matchup between the Hawks and the Wizards featured altercations between Paul Millsap and Markieff Morris, and then John Wall and Dennis Schroder. Millsap, who posted 19 points, felt the referees helped the Wizards win by letting them get away with their overly physical play.

However, the stats of Game 1 simply denied Millsap’s claim. In the Wizards’ 114-107 victory over the Hawks, they only went to the free throw line 17 times and made 16. Meanwhile, the Hawks made 32-of-29 from the line. The way how Morris played against Millsap in Game 1 greatly contributed to the Wizards’ win.

He established an incredible performance on both ends of the floor, posting 21 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, two assists, and one steal. In the remaining seconds of the first half, Millsap committed a shooting foul against Morris, who made all three free throws. Before both teams headed to the locker room, Millsap and Morris were caught exchanging shots.

Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer praised the Wizards’ aggressiveness in the third quarter. Both teams played the first and second quarter in a close battle before the Wizards outscored the Hawks by 10 points in the third. Budenholzer urged the Hawks to use their Game 1 loss as motivation to perform better in the next game.

Paul Millsap vows to win in Game 2

Paul Millsap vows not repeat the same mistake in Game 2. Their next game against the Washington Wizards will be on Wednesday at Verizon Center.

“I just want to reiterate that it’s a long series,” Millsap said, according to the Journal-Constitution. “They did what they are supposed to do. They won home-court advantage and they got this first game. I think it’s important that we come out and get this one Wednesday and take it back to Atlanta.”

Photo courtesy: Keith Allison/Flickr

Video courtesy: Youtube/NBA Conference

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