The Washington Wizards and Golden State Warriors both picked up Game 1 wins in their respective Conference semi-finals clashes on Sunday.
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Bradley Beal shook off an ankle injury to score 28 points as the Wizards upset the odds in the series opener in Atlanta to take a 1-0 lead over the No.1 seed in the East.
The Hawks started strong but seemingly ran out of gas down the stretch as Washington produced another gritty performance on the road to improve to 8-1 away from home in the playoffs over the last two post-seasons.
John Wall added 18 points and 13 assists, but it is clear that pace will be key in the rest of the series as the Wizards look to emerge as a real threat in the East despite not being tipped to make much of an impression after struggling in the second half of the regular season.
Meanwhile, there were no shocks in Oakland as the Golden State Warriors sealed an emphatic win over the Memphis Grizzlies to take a series lead.
Steve Kerr’s side are now 42-2 at home this season as they continue to feed off the energy in the Oracle Arena, and NBA MVP-to-be Stephen Curry was in top form with 22 points and seven assists.
The Warriors depth and superior talent eventually made the difference, and so Memphis will look to go again in Game 2 before the series switches destination.
Washington Wizards 104-98 Atlanta Hawks
Memphis Grizzlies 86-101 Golden State Warriors