Game 1 of the first round series between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards turned out to be a highly physical matchup. As expected, both teams slugged it out and some players got entangled in numerous plays throughout the afternoon.
For Paul Millsap though, he felt like the Wizards were more than just physical during the match. He went on to say, via AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today, that their opponents were not playing basketball anymore, and were out there like MMA fighters.
“The difference in the game is we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA.
“They were physical. When the game’s like that, we’ve just got to match their physicality. But again, we’ve got to go get some (MMA) moves and bring them back to the court.”
The four-time All-Star may have exaggerated with his statement, however, there was one incident in the fourth quarter where Markieff Morris appeared to have placed him in an armbar while trying to steal the ball. Millsap took to his Instagram account and posted a picture of that play, while firing up his teammates with the caption he placed.
— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) April 16, 2017
Game 2 will be played on Tuesday, and Millsap already figured out what he and his teammates will have to do in order to steal one on the road.
“I’ve just got to be more aggressive. I can’t let nobody come out and just push me around. (Morris) was more physical than me tonight, and if that’s how we’re going to play, that’s how we’re going to play. I’ve got to do a better job at that.”
It remains to be seen how the Hawks will respond in their next matchup, but with Millsap letting everyone know what he’ll prepare for, it can be expected that both teams will come out with a lot of physical play and aggressiveness.