Quick Links

Wizards not buying Paul Millsap's MMA critique after Game 1 win vs. Hawks

Wizards not buying Paul Millsap's MMA critique after Game 1 win vs. Hawks

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. 

[RELATED: Millsap thinks trash talking by Morris, Wizards a trap for Hawks]

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."

[RELATED: Wizards hold out two from practice due to injury]

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League


Wizards Tipoff podcast: John Wall goes 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, celebrity softball and the Summer League

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, John Wall went 1-on-1 to talk Bryce Harper's future, the celebrity softball game and the Summer League.

Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the parallels between Wall and Harper and why Wall has chosen to stay loyal to Washington in his own contract decisions. Plus, can the Wizards really tone down the talking this season?

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

Quick Links

Kawhi Leonard going to the Raptors may actually be good news for the Wizards and the East

USA Today Sports Images

Kawhi Leonard going to the Raptors may actually be good news for the Wizards and the East

Through nearly three weeks of NBA free agency and almost a month of trades, the Eastern Conference had remained eerily quiet. The Wizards had arguably been the most aggressive team in the East, as all the biggest moves had occurred in the West and, most notably, LeBron James changed coasts.

That all changed on Wednesday as the Toronto Raptors pulled off a trade with the San Antonio Spurs to land Kawhi Leonard, a two-time defensive player of the year. The full deal includes All-NBA guard DeMar DeRozan going to San Antonio along with big man Jakob Poeltl and a protected 2019 first round pick. The Raptors also get guard Danny Green, according to ESPN.

Here are some takeaways from the trade...

This is good, potentially great news for the Wizards

The worst-case scenario for the Wizards and most of the East would have been if Leonard got dealt to either the Sixers or Celtics, as the potential would have been there for a dominant team. The Sixers, in particular, could have conceivably traded for Leonard without giving up much in the way of pieces that can help them now. They would have teamed Leonard with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and would probably be the favorites to reach the NBA Finals. Instead, the Sixers struck out and now face the prospect of taking a pretty big L on this offseason, given all the guys they were tied to going into it.

Leonard and the Raptors will be good and they may even be better than they were last season. Though the Raptors won 59 games in the regular season, they disappointed in the playoffs. Leonard could change that, but he won't have the help to make them an unstoppable force. Kyle Lowry is good, but he's an aging player and they don't have a third star, at least not yet. They have a lot of recent first round picks that could, in theory, make the leap.

This deal is good for the Wizards and could become great if Leonard leaves in free agency next summer. If he does, the Raptors will be in deep trouble.

What will the Lakers do?

When James signed with the Lakers, most assumed they would then add at least one star to run with him. But now that Leonard is going to Toronto, it's very possible they don't add one at all. James might actually have to play with Lonzo Ball in addition to Lance Stephenson, Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee. Sure, they can sign Leonard next summer or find another star then, but this is shaping up as of now to be a lost year for James.

As consistitued, they aren't winning anything of substance. It's just so surprising James would be cool with this level of talent around him considering what he could have done this season if he signed with Philly or some other team.

People are looking at the wrong contract

Much of the instant reaction to the Leonard trade was praise for the Raptors in ridding themselves of DeRozan's deal. That's a headscratcher. DeRozan is set to make over $27 million in the next three years, the third being a player option, but he's an All-NBA player who turns 29 next month. In the context of NBA contracts, that isn't too bad.

Lowry's contract, on the other hand, is borderline awful. He's 32 with his numbers heading in the wrong direction and he's due to make $31 million next season and $33.3 million the year after. It's not like the Raptors freed themselves of their worst deal.

Masai is making moves

This is a risk for the Raptors and you have to respect it. Their general manager, Masai Ujiri, had seen enough of the DeRozan-Lowry duo falling short in the playoffs. He fired head coach Dwane Casey and pulled off a trade for Leonard, who at his best is one of the premier players in the NBA.

There is considerable risk in this move with Leonard having missed 73 games last season with a quadriceps injury and given the fact he can opt to test free agency next summer. If he really does want to join the Lakers, he could leave the Raptors empty-handed.

But it's a risk that is probably worth taking. Everyone assumed the same future for Paul George and he ended up staying in Oklahoma City. It's not a guarantee Leonard leaves and now the Raptors have a year to convince him to stay. Ujiri should get praise for this deal because it's bold and he did one of the hardest things a GM can do in finding a top-5 talent for his team.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!