John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards host Dwight Howard, Paul Millsap and the Atlanta Hawks in Game 1 of their first round series in the 2017 NBA Playoffs.
Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…
GAME 1: WASHINGTON WIZARDS vs. ATLANTA HAWKS
Where: Verizon Center
Tip-off: 1 p.m.
TV: CSN (coverage begins at 12 p.m.)
Live stream: CSNmidatlantic.com
Radio: 1500 AM
Three things to watch...
The 2017 NBA postseason is finally here as the Wizards open things up with their first Game 1 of a playoff series at home since 1979. The Wizards enter these playoffs with expectations as high as they have been in decades for this franchise and the road begins on Sunday.
The Wizards are relatively healthy outside of calf injuries for Ian Mahinmi and rookie Sheldon Mac. Mahinmi is a key cog on their bench. But their starting lineup should be ready to go with John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Markieff Morris and Marcin Gortat on the floor. For the Hawks, they will start Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Taurean Prince, Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard.
Morris vs. Millsap
A key matchup in this series is definitely going to be at the power forward position, as Morris will be entrusted with locking down Millsap, the Hawks' best player. Millsap can do it all. He's a four-time All-Star and a former All-Defense team selection. At 32, he had another very good season with averages of 19.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game. He has 81 career playoff games under his belt, while Morris has zero.
The challenge for Morris will be following the mobile Millsap around on offense and trying to eliminate his ability to stretch the floor with outside shots. Millsap has had very different results against the Wizards this season, largely based on how Morris defended him. In the first meeting between the teams on Oct. 27, Millsap had 27 points, seven rebounds and six rebounds in a Hawks' win. In the other two times he played against Washington, he scored a combined 20 points on 6-of-21 shooting. If Morris can keep Millsap in check, it will be hard for Atlanta to keep up with the Wizards offensively.
The Wizards play on Sunday after three days without games. And in their regular season finale on Wednesday, many of their regulars didn't play including Wall, Beal and Morris as head coach Scott Brooks opted to rest them in a meaningless game. Wall also didn't play on Monday against Detroit, so Sunday will be his first game action since April 8. He will have sat a full week by tipoff time against the Hawks.
Add in the fact that the Wizards are playing at 1 p.m., six hours earlier than they are used to, and it will be interesting to see how they come out of the gate. Brooks said he does not "expect any late wakeup calls" or any letdown early in the game. Still, it would be understandable if the Wizards have some rust to knock off.