Atlanta’s Paul Millsap and Washington’s Markieff Morris have been jawing at each other in their first-round playoff matchup, likening the physical style of play to mixed martial arts. The bad blood took a personal turn Saturday night in Atlanta, though, after the Wizards‘ blowout loss in Game 3 put the Hawks back in the series.
Millsap led the Hawks with 29 points, a game-high 14 rebounds and five assists as Atlanta dismantled Washington 116-98 to trim the Wizards’ lead to 2-1. Afterward, Morris insinuated that Millsap had help with having such a big game.
“Me, as a man, you take your wins with your losses. I take my wins with my losses all the time,” Morris, who finished with nine points on 4-of-14 shooting, said. “He just did more for his team. He’s a crybaby. You get all the calls when you’re a crybaby. That’s how I look at it.”
Millsap was informed in the media room that Morris called him a crybaby and asked if he felt the matchup had become personal. Teammate Dennis Schroder, who was seated beside Millsap, groaned when he heard the question, put his head in his hand and mumbled, “Oh my gosh, no. Oh, Paul.”
Millsap laughed before replying, “It definitely got personal now, yes. I don’t care, so what. Take his loss and go back to the hotel, be ready for the next game.” He did not take additional questions.
In the Wizards’ 114-107 victory in Game 1, there were moments when Millsap and Morris and then Wizards point guard John Wall and Schroder exchanged words. Afterward, Millsap was quoted by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as saying, “The difference in the game was we were playing basketball and they were playing MMA. 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.”
Morris took offense, telling The Washington Post before Game 2, “Just see where he’s at now. I guess if that’s MMA, then what we do next might be double MMA.”
The Wizards won that game 109-101. Millsap had a double-double. Morris was held to three points, but Wall and Bradley Beal scored 32 and 31 points, respectively.
Game 4 is Monday in Atlanta.