WASHINGTON — After competing alongside and against each other for nearly a decade, Wizards big man Marcin Gortat can read his Hawks counterpart, Dwight Howard, like an open book at this point.
The Wizards held Howard to seven points in Game 1 of their opening round playoff series, a 114-107 Wizards victory. Gortat contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds of his own in the win.
“What can I say? I know Dwight obviously for 10 years and I’ve been practicing with him for the first four years in the league and I can definitely read this guy like an open book,” Gortat told 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Tuesday.
“It’s not the same Dwight,” he said of his former teammate (2007-2010). “We all know that. It’s not the same Dwight that he was 10 years ago.”
“The most important thing for him is just to be physical with him, keep him off the glass, keep him off the paint and try to make everything as difficult as possible for him,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s not only about me, it’s about the whole team. The whole team has to play team defense.”
Gortat drew a questionable technical foul after posterizing Paul Millsap with an emphatic dunk in the fourth quarter, which he punctuated with a shove and a gesture.
“I’m assuming it’s the trick I showed and the move I made,” he said. “It was towards Millsap which kind of, it’s disrespectful for the game I guess and that’s why [official] Zach [Zarba] decided to give me a technical foul for it. But at the end of the day, it was worth it. Obviously it was a good dunk and that kind of set the whole tone for the rest of the game.”