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Paul Millsap on letting his play speak for itself, why he made the 'MMA' comment about Wizards

Paul Millsap on letting his play speak for itself, why he made the 'MMA' comment about Wizards

One day after the Hawks' Game 1 loss, Paul Millsap said he was intent on not letting the trash talk by Markieff Morris and the Wizards get to him, that he wanted to let his play speak for itself. Since, he has appeared to accomplish that. There have been some words exchanged in the media, but mainly from the Wizards and meanwhile Millsap has played well while Morris has struggled while dealing with foul trouble.

It's now a 2-2 series and Millsap feels he is doing just what he set out to do.

"They key to doing that is just shutting the hell up. That's it," he said about letting a back-and-forth through the media affect his game. "It's all about being a professional, man. We all know what are the right things to say. We know the politically correct answers. We know what not to say. It's just being a professional, getting out there to answer questions and do your job. That's how I see it."

Millsap has learned throughout his 10-year NBA career that sometimes it's wise to just be careful about what you say publicly. It's not just about giving opponents bulletin board material. He knows that in the playoffs each team pays more attention to what the other team says and gameplans can sometimes be exposed through the media.

[RELATED: Wizards vs. Hawks Game 5: How and what to watch]

Dwight Howard has a similar take. He has instructed some of the younger players on the team to stay out of it.

"I'm not a trash talker. A lot of the times I see no need to talk trash. I know a lot of people do it to hype themselves up. Some people just like to talk trash," Howard said. "I just feel like when you win, that's the best way to shut people up. I tell these guys all the time, the way we talk trash is by winning instead of fighting back and forth and getting into a war of words with teams."

The trash talking between teams, though, can be fun for fans and Millsap knows that. He thinks it's actually a good thing at the end of the day, what his comments about MMA and what Morris has said about him since have done to draw attention to the Wizards vs. Hawks first round matchup.

"It does [help]. I think especially to our series. Like, they had us on NBATV a lot. I think it added a little light to our series. It's interesting. As a basketball fan, I know it's good to see that. It makes it more interesting and intriguing. It sucks that I've gotta be in the middle of it. It's not going to escape me, so the better that you embrace it, the better off you are," he said.

Morris and Millsap got into it during Game 1 and it was at the podium afterwards that Millsap said the Wizards "were playing MMA." That set off several days of great quotes from both teams, including Morris' retort that the Wizards were preparing for "double MMA" in Game 2.

Millsap was asked after Tuesday's practice what message he was trying to send with the MMA line. It turns out there were no complexities behind it.

"I said it because I was in a chokehold on the ground. That's why I said it," he said with a laugh.

[RELATED: Mahinmi optimistic he can return by end of Wizards-Hawks series]

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Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

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USA Today Sports Images

Celtics and Sixers may go relatively unchanged this offseason, as stars have gone elsewhere

The 2018 NBA offseason in just three weeks has become one of the wildest summers in the league's history between LeBron James signing with the Lakers, and all the characters that followed him, to DeMarcus Cousins surprising everyone to sign with the Golden State Warriors, to Kawhi Leonard getting traded to the Raptors.

As crazy as it all has been, two teams in the Eastern Conference stand out for so far doing very little, either by choice or circumstance. The Celtics and Sixers, the two teams most see as the favorites in the East, appear at least so far to be running it back with the same group of players.

This appears to be the Celtics' intention. After overhauling their roster last summer, they clearly see an opportunity to take a step forward as-is. Boston was one win away from the NBA Finals and will return Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving from injury. With James gone to the West, they can improve significanly just by keeping it all together.

Boston re-signed Marcus Smart and Aron Baynes. Their biggest addition this summer so far has been their first round pick, Robert Williams.

The Sixers, unlike the Celtics, didn't appear to plan on doing it this way. They wanted James and missed out. They reportedly had interest in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but both went elsewhere. There are no stars left to sign in free agency and the trade market may be drying up.

Philly made some minor moves like trades for Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala. They may also have a deal for Kyle Korver in the works. They also had two first round picks in Zhaire Smith and Landry Shamet.

There's a chance the Sixers got better than people think, as many of the moves they made seem smart. But they didn't reel in a big fish and will probably come back for the 2018-19 season with a team very similar to the one that made the second round of the playoffs this spring.

The fact the Celtics and Sixers may stand pat is probably a good thing for the rest of the East. Both teams may improve naturally if they are healthier and if their young players continue to ascend. But neither made a game-changing addition, one that would solidify either as an unstoppable superteam in the conference. 

The West is overloaded with title contenders and All-NBA players. The East, meanwhile, is much more open and it may end up staying that way mainly because Boston and Philly have been quiet so far this summer.

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Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards set introductory press conference for Dwight Howard

Wizards team president Ernie Grunfeld has stayed relatively busy this summer crafting his new-look lineup for the 2018-19 season. 

One of the team's key additions, Dwight Howard, is set to be introduced as a member of the Wizards on Monday. 

NBC Sports Washington will air the introductory press conference live at 1 p.m. while also streaming it online.  

Ernie Grunfeld and head coach Scott Brooks are both expected to be in attendance. 

The 32-year-old big man is coming off a 2017-18 season with the Charlotte Hornets in which he averaged 16.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. 

Since leaving the Orlando Magic after eight seasons in 2011, Howard has played for four different teams in the last six years. 

Howard is an eight-time all-star and a three-time defensive player of the year. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

John Wall's take on Dwight Howard 

Wizards make Dwight Howard free agent signing official 

By the numbers: Is new Wizards center Dwight Howard still in his NBA prime?