October 19, 2019

Washington Wizards Game 53 Recap: Wiz handle the Pistons in Markieff Morris’ debut

MORRIS MAKES WIZ DEBUT WITH SIX POINTS IN 22 MINUTES

(Photo by: @NBA)

(Photo by: @NBA)

A day after tackling the Utah Jazz in the first of a three straight game stretch, the Washington Wizards quickly turned their attention to the Detroit Pistons. Detroit, the team directly ahead of Washington in the standings, added Tobias Harris from the Orlando Magic at the trade deadline yesterday, which may have pressured Ernie Grunfeld to make a counter move.

Markieff Morris was active in his first game since arriving in the area and told the media he was excited to be here before the game. Behind another strong performance from the House of Guards — John Wall (22p, 8a, 8r) and Bradley Beal (17p, 3a) — Washington dominated Detroit on their way to a 98-86 victory.

Detroit got off to a bad offensive start by opening the game 1 of 11 from the field including missed shots from close to the rim. Washington started with a 9-2 lead before going on a 9-0 run that gave them a double digit lead. The Wizards defense was stellar again as they held Detroit to 6 of 22 shooting and just 15 points in the first quarter, a season best for Washington. The home team gave the crowd free Egg McMuffins for the second night in a row with a 29-15 lead after one quarter of play.

Tobias Harris was easily winning the battle of better impact player against Markieff Morris as was probably expected. Harris willed Detroit back into the game with 5 of 6 shooting and 13 points to start the game. Washington’s lead was cut to five while the Pistons were on a 10-2 run. John Wall fixed that with a nasty hesitation move to send Reggie Jackson, who makes the same amount of money as Wall, to the floor and start a 9-0 run. Though not the greatest quarter of player, the Wizards extended their lead to 55-40 at halftime.

The third quarter saw both teams going back and forth in the scoring department, which was just fine with the Wizards. Washington comfortably maintained their double-digit lead with timely shooting. John Wall hit another corner 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock before Bradley Beal followed suit. Morris made his first bucket as a member of the Wizards in the third quarter off a drive from the three point line before hitting the baseline floater. Washington ended the quarter on a 9-1 run to take a commanding 83-61 lead into the fourth.

The most eventful part of the fourth quarter was that Randy Wittman waited to empty the bench with the game seemingly in hand. Washington was up 90-74 with 6:11 left in the game when Beal re-entered the ball game even though it might limit his playing time tomorrow night. Finally with 2:27 remaining and the victory secured with a 17 point advantage, Wittman finally reached deep into the bench by giving Kelly Oubre Jr. and Jarell Eddie playing time. The game finished as smoothly as it started as Washington won their second straight ball game, this one 98-86. The fans were even rewarded free Chik-fil-A during the season’s eight sellout thanks to Aron Baynes late.

“It’s real satisfying, it’s the catalyst of what we’ve done, that’s why we’ve won in the fashion we’ve won in,” Wittman said. “We didn’t play as well as we could have offensively tonight, first quarter was pretty good, we had our ups and downs and usually when we had our ups and downs offensively this season against this team, water was coming on board. When we play defense like that it gives us the opportunity to have a 15-point fourth quarter and win by double digits.”

The Wizards will catch a flight out to South Beach late tonight to culminate their brutal three-day stretch with a matchup with the Miami Heat (29-24) on Saturday. Miami will be coming off of a back-to-back of their own and are beginning to adjust to life without big Chris Bosh.

MORRIS DEBUTS

Morris had six points in 22 minutes in his Wizards’ debut. Wittman sang his praises after Morris was even questionable to get in due to league paperwork.

“He was good, the guy has no idea what we are doing and that’s the hardest thing when you come out,” Wittman said. “He had no practice, couldn’t even do walk through today because he wasn’t cleared to play until 6 o’clock, the league said we couldn’t do anything. He had no idea, I just said just go out there and play like it’s a pick-up game, but I thought he was fine. He’s going to be fine, he’s an intelligent player, good basketball IQ, good size, we can do some different things with him from a defensive stand point that we haven’t had the luxury to do so I see a lot of good things.”

Morris was just excited to get out there with his mew teammates.  “I felt good effort when I was out there, guys were communicating a lot. That’s the key to defense, communicating. I just want to step in and add to it.”

He didn’t have any expectations after not even getting to participate in shoot-around. “Basically a first game like this I just want to get the feel for my new teammates. Coming off the break you’re in better shape so I’m just excited about the run.”

Morris talked about his first experience running with John Wall. “He’s gonna put the ball in your hands, especially when you run. He’s probably the fastest point guard I’ve played with and one of the best point guards I’ve played with also.”

Of course, Morris has a couple of guys on the team he’s already played with, in Jared Dudley and Marcin Gortat. “It’s definitely a great feeling. I played with both of those guys two and a half years. It makes it an easier transition for me to come in, already knowing a few players. But you know I’ve played against everyone in this locker room, so I kinda know them already.”

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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  1. […] it. So far the Washington Wizards have put together great defensive efforts against Utah and Detroit before taking a trip to South Beach. While the DC club continues to be without the services […]

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