For the first time this season, a team has accused the Wizards of being too physical. Paul Millsap fired those shots after his Atlanta Hawks lost Game 1 despite a 39-17 edge in attempted free throws, accusing them of "playing MMA."
"We just came out ready to play. We were physical," said Marcin Gortat, who battled Dwight Howard in the low post in Sunday's 114-107 victory. "We had a few possessions where we hit them during boxouts, fighting for the ball. We were pushing harder. I'm not going to get into what he said. It is what it is. That's our job. We're going to go out there and fight to get a win."
On more than one occasion the Wizards lamented the lack of foul calls and free-throw attempts. The Jan. 11 loss to the Boston Celtics stands out the most. They only were called for 10 fouls in beating Washington 117-108.
John Wall was so ticked off he set a career-high with 15 technical fouls in the regular season. Millsap drew the first foul on Markieff Morris just 17 seconds into the game but couldn't get him in any serious trouble.
"It wasn't even close to MMA. That's what he said. I'm not going to get into what he said. I truly don't pay attention to what they say," Gortat said. "I don't pay attention to what media say. I don't pay attention to what my friends and my mom and my dad is going to say because they have no idea about basketball."
It's an about-face to the Wizards first playoff run in 2014 when players were irate over how many national media picked against them in a first-round series with the Chicago Bulls.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks probably has a lot to do with them avoiding giving the Hawks any bulletin board material going into Wednesday's Game 2 at Verizon Center. They don't want to create any drama up 1-0 in the series.
"I did see that," Brooks said of Millsap's MMA remark. "I don't really get too much involved with what other teams and players say about the referees. Just focus on what we do. It's a physical game. I don't see anything we did out of the ordinary that would make anybody think differently. It's the playoffs. We did what we needed to do, win our home game. I don't get involved in any of that stuff."
After Gortat threw down a dunk on Millsap with 3:08 left in the fourth quarter, he was hit with a technical foul for screaming and giving the Polish Hammer sign in his face.
"You can get rid of the hammer," Brooks said. "When he finishes with dunks, I like that. The hammer? That's his thing. It's fun. You just don't want to do it in front of a guy."