Hawks star Millsap says Wizards 'were playing MMA' in game-one win

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If anyone watching game one of the Eastern Conference series between the Atlanta Hawks and Washington Wizards thought things were a bit chippy, Paul Millsap would agree.

The Hawks forward, who scored 19 points in Sunday's 114-107 playoff loss to the Wizards, said Washington turned the opening game of the first-round series into more of a mixed-martial arts smackdown.

"The difference in the game was we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA," Millsap told reporters.

"They were physical. When the game is like that, we have to match their physicality. But again, we've got to go get some moves and bring them back to the court."

Millsap and Wizards forward Markieff Morris were locked in a physical tussle all game, which resulted in some heated moments.

Millsap said it was just a case of "two guys playing hard."

Despite an unfavourable first-game result, Millsap remained upbeat about Atlanta's chances this series.

"I just want to reiterate that it's a long series," Millsap said. "They did what they are supposed to do. They won home-court advantage and they got this first game. They did their jobs tonight. I think it's important that we come out and get this one Wednesday and take it back to Atlanta."

One player the Hawks need to key on is John Wall, the point guard and leader of the Wizards. He finished the game with 32 points and 14 assists, proving he was the best player on the court.