If anyone watching Game 1 of the Eastern Conference series between the Hawks and Wizards thought things werea bit chippy, Paul Millsap would agree.
The Hawks forward, who scored 19 points in Sunday's 114-107 loss to the Wizards, said Washington turned the game into more of amixed-martial arts smackdown.
"The difference in the game was we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA," Millsap told reporters, via ESPN.com. "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."
Millsap and Wizards forward Markieff Morris were locked in a physical tussle all game, which resulted in some heated moments.
Millsap said itwas just a case of "two guys playing hard."
Despite an unfavorable first-game result, Millsap remained upbeat about Atlanta's chances this series.
"I just want to reiterate that it's a long series," Millsap said. "They did what they are supposed to do. They won home-court advantage and they got this first game. They did their jobs tonight. I think it's important that we come out and get this one Wednesday and take it back to Atlanta."
One player the Hawks need to key on is John Wall, the point guard and leader of the Wizards. Wall was certainly playing basketball Sunday. He finished the game with 32 points and 14 assists, proving he was the best player on the court.
The NBA has certainly gone away from the physical play that dominated the game in the late 80s and early 90s, but playoff basketball should be tougher for both teams competing against each other.