The Wizards looked like a force to be reckoned with in Sunday’s Game 1 win over the Hawks, but there was no shortage of drama as Jeff Teague, John Wall and Bradley Beal all picked up injuries. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry is expected to claim the MVP Award this week, and he led the Warriors to a relatively easy win over the helpless Grizzlies in the first game of their series. I’ll break it all down for you in this version of the Daily Dose!
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Wizards 104, Hawks 98 (Wizards lead series 1-0)
After getting a week off to rest since their easy series sweep over the Raptors, the Wizards took care of business in a gritty Game 1 win over the Hawks. Washington is still undefeated in the postseason, and while I’m still skeptical about them winning this series, I’ve got to admit that they have greatly exceeded my expectations.
John Wall led the way with 18 points, 13 assists, seven boards, three blocks and a steal, but he caused some panic when he fell awkwardly onto his left wrist. Somehow, Wall was able to stay in the game despite how bad the fall looked, and all he needed was a simple wrap on his wrist to keep playing. He said after the game that the pain was lingering more towards his hand rather than his wrist, but he vowed to play in Game 2 on Tuesday and the Wizards didn’t seem to be too concerned.
Bradley Beal’s injury, however, appeared to be a little more severe after a sprained right ankle forced him to leave the game in tears. Beal did return in the fourth quarter, but his ankle was clearly bothering him and he looked devastated when he was on the bench. He said that this was the worst ankle sprain he has had in terms of pain, and while X-rays were negative, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had to sit out a game or two. Beal finished with a game-high 28 points with seven boards, one assist, one steal and two 3-pointers.
Otto Porter continued his impressive play in the playoffs, scoring 10 points with 11 boards and two 3-pointers. He is really embracing his sixth man role off the bench, and head coach Randy Wittman appears to trust him a lot more. Porter averaged just 19.4 minutes in the regular season compared to 32.4 minutes in the playoffs, so if Beal has to miss any time, Porter will have to step up even more.
Paul Pierce did his part with 19 points, three boards and three 3-pointers, while Marcin Gortat double-doubled with 12 points, 12 boards and two assists in 38 minutes. Drew Gooden also chipped in with 12 points, five boards and two 3-pointers in 14 minutes off the bench.
As for the Hawks, they got off to a blazing start due to a 37-point first quarter, but they later eased off the gas pedal and were held to just 35 points in the entire second half. To make things worse, Jeff Teague tweaked his troublesome right ankle in the loss, but he did return to finish with 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting with seven assists, three boards and a 3-pointer. Teague is shooting just 37.8 percent in the playoffs, so a nagging ankle issue won't do him any favors moving forward.
Paul Millsap played well with 15 points, 12 boards, eight assists, two steals, two blocks and one 3-pointer, though he did shoot just 6-of-17 from the field and turned the ball over four times. Millsap also grabbed four offensive rebounds, and the Hawks would be wise to utilize his size in the post if Paul Pierce continues to see time at power forward for Washington. Al Horford scored 17 points with 17 boards, seven assists, one block, one steal and a 3-pointer, but he committed five fouls which limited him to just 30 minutes of action.
DeMarre Carroll scored 21 of his 24 points in the first half, and he also added three boards and five treys to his name. Kyle Korver (13 points, five boards, three 3-pointers) commands a lot of attention from opposing defenses when he is on the perimeter, so Carroll should be able to get plenty of good looks for the remainder of the series. Not many guys fly under the radar quite like Carroll, but he has now scored 20 or more points in each of his last five games.
Warriors 101, Grizzlies 86 (Warriors lead series 1-0)
Stephen Curry is expected to be named the MVP for the 2014-15 season this week, and he showed exactly why on Sunday as he poured in 22 points with seven assists, two boards, four steals and four 3-pointers. Tony Allen can’t be everywhere on defense for the Grizzlies, meaning Curry will feast every time that Nick Calathes and Beno Udrih are matched up on him. Curry was my choice for MVP, but James Harden, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook definitely made things interesting.
Klay Thompson scored 18 points with six assists, three rebounds, two 3-pointers and a steal, while Andrew Bogut played through a minor back issue on his way to just four points, six boards, two steals and an assist. Bogut fouled out in 24 minutes, and it didn’t look like he was moving too well out there. The Warriors desperately need his size to contain Marc Gasol, so hopefully Bogut is feeling better prior to Game 2.
Draymond Green was excellent with 16 points, five boards, three assists, two steals and four 3-pointers, but he played just 27 minutes due to foul trouble. Green said after the game that he expected his matchup with the Memphis frontcourt to be more physical, so it will be interesting to see how Zach Randolph responds in Game 2.
Mike Conley went through warmups in a mask prior to the game, but the chances of him returning soon don’t look too good. He said that the noise and lighting in Oracle Arena really cause him some problems, and while he is still hoping to return at some point this series, I just don’t see him playing in Game 2.
Nick Calathes was woeful in the starting lineup during Sunday’s loss, finishing scoreless with two assists, one board and three steals in 21 minutes. Beno Udrih wasn’t much better with totals of seven points, one board, one assist, one steal and one trey, and it looks the point guard spot could be the Grizzlies’ downfall if Conley doesn’t come back soon.
Tony Allen was tremendous with 15 points, four boards, three assists and three steals in 38 minutes, but he caused a scene when he walked right into the middle of a children’s dance group during a timeout. The crowd showered him with boos, but Allen is no stranger to drama and it didn’t seem to faze him. Allen is going to be logging heavy minutes in this series to help contain Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry as much as possible, so I would expect similar production from Allen for the rest of this series.
Jeff Green continued his disappearing act in the playoffs with just nine points on 4-of-9 shooting, adding four assists, two boards and one steal in 27 minutes. Green has to perform if the Grizzlies want to make this a competitive series, as he is their only dynamic scoring option off the bench at the moment.
Marc Gasol did his best to keep this game close with 21 points, nine boards, three assists and three steals, while Zach Randolph contributed 20 points, nine boards and five assists. Gasol and Randolph are the only hope that Memphis has right now, so I’d expect them to put up monster numbers the rest of the way. The Grizzlies will try to respond in Game 2 on Tuesday.