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John Wall scores playoff-best 32 as Wizards beat Hawks in Game 1
April 16, 2017
After John Wall told Markieff Morris what to expect in his NBA playoff debut, the Washington Wizards’ All-Star guard showed everyone his postseason best. Wall scored a playoff-career-high 32 points and dished out 14 assists and Morris added 21 points as the host Wizards rebounded from a rough second quarter to beat Atlanta 114-107 Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round series. “John can take over games, he can take over quarters, he can take over plays,” head coach Scott Brooks said. Seconds after feeding Morris for a dunk in his dominant third quarter, Wall pointed to the court to deliver the message: “This is my house.” Twice when Wall stepped to the free-throw line, fans serenaded him with chants of “M-V-P.” Despite teammate Brandon Jennings’ Players’ Tribune essay making the case for Wall as MVP, Washington’s four-time All-Star broke it down as Russell Westbrook against James Harden, with Kawhi Leonard, LeBron James, Isaiah Thomas and himself in the next tier. Despite the Hawks attempting 39 foul shots, compared with the Wizards’ 17, the difference was the third quarter when Morris and Wall took center stage. Gobert sprained his left knee on the game’s first play when he banged knees with L.A. forward Luc Mbah a Moute, leaving the Jazz without their 7-foot-1 center who averaged 14 points and 12.8 rebounds during the regular season. Blake Griffin scored 26 points and Chris Paul added 25 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, whose seven-game winning streak ended with their first loss since March 26 against Sacramento.