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Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris hope Wizards allow them to play in finale vs. Heat

Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris hope Wizards allow them to play in finale vs. Heat

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- With their 49th win about to slip away, the Wizards went back to starters Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris with five minutes left to pull out a hard-fought victory over the Detroit Pistons. Faced with that same scenario in the regular-season finale, will coach Scott Brooks do something similar or let a chance for 50 wins evaporate?

Beal had a game-high 33 points in 33 minutes. Morris had 20 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes. But coach Scott Brooks seemed less likely to make such a move Wednesday at the Miami Heat after going down to the wire and seeing backup center Ian Mahinmi limp off with a left calf strain.

“They wanted to close out the game. I wanted to keep Brad’s minutes at 30," Brooks said. "He played (33), maybe a couple minutes too long but they wanted to get themselves a chance to win the game. They did a good job of executing. That’s something we did not do the last game. We wanted to get better at doing that."

Morris had his second solid game in a row after being shaky for the past month, particularly from long range. He made 2 of 4 three-point shots. 

“We want to prepare for the playoffs. If we get 50 that’s good, too. We want to do it for the city, for the organization, it’s been a while but we got to start working for the playoffs," Morris said before adding his desire to play vs. Miami. "I want to get a rhythm. ... I think I will play to catch a rhythm going into the next couple of games."

Beal can taste 50 wins, a mark the franchise hasn't reached in four decades. He knows if John Wall (left thigh) and Otto Porter (back spasms) are held out again the chances of them reaching it could be impossible. The Heat are in a must-win situation to make the playoffs and have beaten the Wizards in all three meetings already.

“I’m going to have to talk to coach, see if he’ll let me play to try to get to 50," Beal said. "I don’t know what his plans are, but for the most part we’ve got a great opportunity. "

Brooks said after the 105-101 win Monday that he might hold out "a lot of guys" and just hold an informal practice for those players instead. 

[RELATED: Should the Wizards rest their starters in the final game?]

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Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

There appears to be at least some chance the Wizards will be without starting small forward Otto Porter when they host the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of their first round playoff series on Friday night in Washington.

Porter, 24, continues to deal with a right lower leg strain. The injury is located on the outside of his calf and will require further testing from the Wizards' medical staff to determine his status.

Head coach Scott Brooks addressed the media on Thursday and did not rule out an MRI.

"We don't know as of yet, but he's banged up. So, hopefully we will find out some good news and see how he feels tomorrow," Brooks said.

Porter first suffered the injury on April 10 against the Celtics in the Wizards' penultimate regular season game. He missed the regular season finale, but has appeared in all five games of the Wizards-Raptors series.

Brooks did not make it seem likely that Porter will miss Game 6, but expressed uncertainty.

"Anything is possible," he said. "We hope for the best."

Porter appeared hobbled in Game 5 and has at other times this series as well. After the first two games of the series, Brooks was asked about Porter's health and said that he was "100 percent." It's unclear if Porter suffered a setback in the time between, but clearly that isn't the case anymore.

Porter is averaging just 10.0 points in this series, down from his 14.7 per game season average. Ideally, the Wizards would be getting more than that from their third scoring option.

"We need Otto," Brooks said. "We need Otto to be more of a nine or 10-point scorer for us to win this series."

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Fourth quarter has been an issue for the Wizards in series vs. Raptors

Fourth quarter has been an issue for the Wizards in series vs. Raptors

It was all going so well for the Wizards in Game 5 on Wednesday night until just over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. That's when their offense went from good enough to win to bad enough to alter a series and put their 2017-18 season on life support.

The Wizards head back to Washington down 3-2 and have only themselves to blame. From the 4:05 mark in the fourth quarter all the way until 16.2 seconds remining in the game, they did not score a single point. Meanwhile, the Raptors kept rolling and finished that stretch on a 14-5 run. 

The Wizards missed 11 of their final 15 shots. They stopped moving the ball and moving off the ball and even some of their open shots clanged off the backboard or the rim.

It was a stunning display of offensive ineptitude from a team that was above average in scoring during the regular season. 

"We just missed some shots," guard Bradley Beal said. "We feel like we got some good ones, especially down the stretch."

The Wizards managed 20 points in the fourth quarter and 15 came in the first 7:55 of the frame. That would put them on pace for a solid quarter. If they maintained that course, they may have won the game.

Instead, the fourth quarter amounted to a disaster and it cost them dearly. Teams that lose Game 5 to break a 2-2 tie have a 17.2 percent chance of winning the series, based on the league's history.

Otto Porter went scoreless and took one shot in the fourth quarter of Game 5. John Wall had two of his seven turnovers and shot 2-for-6.

"I had two crucial turnovers trying to split screens in the fourth quarter," Wall said. "Just bad reads on my part."

Beal shot 1-for-6 from the field and 1-for-4 from three. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who shot just 40.3 percent from the field during the regular season, took six shots in the fourth quarter, tied for most on the team. He made two of them and missed all three of his threes.

The Wizards had six of their 18 giveaways in the fourth. Though they outrebounded the Raptors 50-35 for the game, they were outdone 15-12 in the frame.

The Wizards' scoreless drought of three minutes and 49 seconds in the fourth quarter was perhaps foreshadowed by some problems with their offense early in the game. There were plenty of stretches characterized by bad shots, turnovers and a lack of passing.

The Wizards' 21 assists in Game 5 were their fewest in the playoffs so far.

"We need more ball movement," Beal said. "We need more player movement. We were way too stagnant."

The fourth quarter has been an issue all series. Only once, in Game 2, did they outscore the Raptors in the final frame. 

The Wizards rank 14th out of 16 playoff teams in fourth quarter points (23.4/g) and dead-last with a 40.4 field goal percentage and 28.1 three point percentage.

This is a bit of a carryover from the regular season. Only five teams shot worse than the Wizards in the fourth quarter (43.7%) and only five teams allowed more points (26.5) to their opponents.

Washington has had issues closing games all year and throughout this series. Wednesday night was an extreme example and it has them just one loss away from elimination.

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