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10 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Hawks in Game 1 in first round of playoffs

10 must-see moments from Wizards' win over Hawks in Game 1 in first round of playoffs

Here are 10 plays or moments from the Washington Wizards' 114-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of their NBA playoff series on Sunday that are worth revisiting...

1. John Wall and Bradley Beal made their presence known late in the Wizards' victory, but the tone was clearly set early by Markieff Morris. He had 10 points in the first half, including two on this monster dunk. The Hawks left Morris wide open in the lane and paid for it.

This might be Morris' best dunk of the season:

Morris finished with 21 points in his first ever playoff game.

2. Wall also had a huge night with 32 points and 14 assists. This was one of his nicest dimes, an alley-oop lob to Marcin Gortat:

3. Wall also got it done on the defensive end. On this play he pulled off an impressive chasedown block of Dennis Schroder. Wall is so darn good at those:

[RELATED: Hawks' Millsap on Wizards: 'They were playing MMA']

4. Speaking of blocks, here are two of Morris' four on the night and they each came on the same play. First Morris got Ersan Ilyasova, then he got Dwight Howard:

5. Here's another of Wall's assists. On this one he found Otto Porter for a corner three and set up him after a nifty spin in the lane:

6. This was one of Wall's best scoring plays. He decided he was going to the rim and there was no one on the Hawks who could stop him:

7. Back to Morris. The Wizards' forward was a man possessed against Atlanta. In this sequence he threw down two huge dunks on back-to-back possessions:

8. More from Wall: on this play the All-Star guard saw his shot roll in off the rim. It was part of a 15-point third quarter and he just had to shrug as he ran back down on defense, a la Michael Jordan:

[RELATED: Smith, Oubre banged up in Wizards-Hawks Game 1]

9. As mentioned above, Beal also caught fire in the second half. On this play he drained an and-1 over Kent Bazemore, then pointed at him with both hands as he sat on the ground:

10. This play put a stamp on the Wizards' win. Gortat posterized Paul Millsap, pushed him and then threw down a hammer celebration. It earned Gortat a technical foul, but it was a compelling moment:

Now for some moments that happened outside the lines. Markieff Morris' twin Marcus was in the crowd wearing his brother's Wizards jersey and cheering him on. Great stuff:

And here is Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer applying chapstick like his life depends on it:

And finally, here is a very cute kid looking very excited before the Wizards and Hawks tipped off:

Another fun day at the Verizon Center.

[RELATED: Oubre on Morris vs. Millsap: 'Keef is better than him']

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The same day the Mystics clinched a playoff spot, Natasha Cloud made some history of her own

USA Today

The same day the Mystics clinched a playoff spot, Natasha Cloud made some history of her own

Ladies and gentlemen, it doesn't get much better than this. 

The same night the Mystics clinched a playoff spot with an 86-79 win over the Minnesota Lynx, Natasha Cloud made some history of her own.

With 8:25 left in the first quarter, Cloud hit an open Elena Della Donne who finished strongly at the basket. With the pass, Cloud became the franchise's all-time leader in assists. 

Drafted by the Mystics back in 2015, Cloud has been integral to the team's rise to the top of the standings. She's averaging a career-high 5.4 assists and 8.8 points while leading the team in minutes at 32.3 per game. 

Needless to say, her teammates were excited for her. 

Hopefully, this magical season will finish with a championship, redeeming the Mystics of their 2018 Finals loss. 



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As Monumental Basketball gets underway, Mystics are leading the charge

As Monumental Basketball gets underway, Mystics are leading the charge

Monumental Basketball, the new vertical that encompasses the NBA's Wizards, the Capital City Go-Go of the G-League, the Mystics of the WNBA and District Gaming of the NBA 2K League, is designed to help all of the respective teams owned and operated by Ted Leonsis and his partners. The Mystics, though, don't need nearly as much assistance as the others.

Sitting atop the WNBA with a league-best 18-7 record, the Mystics look well on their way to another deep playoff run. Last year, it ended in a loss in the WNBA Finals. This year, they have an even better roster capable of winning it all.

On Wednesday, the Mystics routed the Seattle Storm, last year's champions, by 29 points. They did so despite missing All-Star point guard Kristi Tolliver and with their best player, Elena Delle Donne, scoring 14 points. They might be the deepest team in the WNBA with a bench that is starting lineup-caliber.

The Mystics have already arrived, but it took some time to get here. When head coach and general manager Mike Thibault took over in 2013, they had won 11 total games the previous two years. Five years later, they were title contenders.

Leonsis wants to see the same upward trajectory for his other teams. Thibault believes the new program can help everyone get on track.

"The overall structure can be so good when you are inclusive and you have services that are available to everybody," Thibault told NBC Sports Washington. 

"I think that one of the things that I learned in trying to rebuild the Mystics is that you need a lot of hands to make it work. I go back to the days where you had a head coach and one or two assistants. The game has changed so much. If you can make a player coming in, whether it’s to the Mystics or the Wizards, feel like they are a part of something bigger."

Thibault, 68, knows what good organizations look like, as he has been a part of many over the years. He was a scout for the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s during their dynasty. He later worked for the Chicago Bulls and oversaw the scouting department when they drafted Michael Jordan. It wasn't until the 2000s that he joined the WNBA ranks, first with a successful run as coach of the Connecticut Sun before coming to Washington.

Thibault believes the player services arm of Monumental Basketball will be particularly helpful.

"Let’s say you’re traded to the Wizards. You’re coming from a different city and it’s a new environment. Your family has to move and you have kids. That’s a whole thing in and of itself," he explained.

"What can we do for their post-career ability? Do they want to be a coach? Do they want to go into broadcasting, or business? There are so many things you can do to enhance how comfortable a player and a family is coming to an organization. It’s something that just makes you special as an organization."

Thibault says some of benefits Monumental Basketball will provide have already been utilized by the Mystics, including mental health professionals and nutritionists. What can help the Mystics in particular is more synergy with the Wizards.

This is the first season the Mystics are playing at the new arena at St. Elizabeth's in Southeast Washington. They now share a practice facility and office space with the Wizards. Thibault believes there are positives to feeling part of a larger operation.

"I think our players already sense that," he said. "You see Wizards players, you see Tommy Sheppard and others at our games. That makes you feel like you’re a part of a bigger thing. We have a dining room where all of the players can socialize in both of the organizations."

When the creation of Monumental Basketball was announced, Leonsis noted Thibault will have a certain level of autonomy in what he does. Some of the executives hired by the organization like John Thompson III, who will help with player wellness, and Dr. Daniel Medina, who will assist in training and health, will provide services to the Mystics. But Thibault will pick the players and set the vision for basketball operations.

Thibault, though, knows Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard well and thinks the team is in good hands.

"He’s got ideas. He’s very forward thinking. I think he’s a great judge of personnel and character. I think he’s very thorough in what he does," Thibault said. 

"I think that when you’re trying to build an organization, there are process you have to go through and steps you have to take to be good. I think he knows you have to have patience to do that. I think if fans give him the chance to do what he’s great at, they will see the results over time. It might take time, but he will get them there."