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Markieff Morris explains why he slapped ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on the butt after Wizards-Celtics Game 6

Markieff Morris explains why he slapped ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on the butt after Wizards-Celtics Game 6

It's almost hard to tell which shot from the last 24 hours Wizards fans enjoyed more: John Wall's clutch three-pointer to beat the Celtics in Game 6 or Markieff Morris' slap on the rear of ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith soon after, an emphatic response directed towards a guy who gets paid to spout opinions, some of which have been unfavorable to the Wizards.

It was caught on video by a Twitter user and immediately went viral. It was the butt-slap seen round the world. The video traveled quickly across the internet as Twitter blew up in a cloud of schadenfreude.

Smith covers many topics on his show, but happened to recently call out the Wizards' frontcourt, meaning Morris, Otto Porter and Marcin Gortat. Of Gortat, he said this after their Game 4 loss to the Hawks:

"That damn frontcourt, I don't know what I'm gonna do about myself. [Marcin] Gortat, I like him. Genuinely nice guy… He's playing like straight garbage. Show up, Gortat pretty please, with sugar on top."

[RELATED: Morris, Wall get laughs out of Celtics' funeral game attempt]

Morris has heard some of Smith's criticism over the years and said his thought process in slapping him on the butt was simple.

"He's always talking trash. It was the heat of the moment. I saw him there and I had to give him something," he told CSN.

Smith is a controversial figure in sports to the point where everyone has a strong opinion about him. Like it or not, he's carved out a niche for himself and is very good at what he does. He incites a reaction out of people and that's why the viewers tune in to watch.

But that means some athletes don't like him, either. Players hear the things he says about them and, with all that in mind, Morris couldn't pass up the opportunity.

"That's the only thing you can do other than hit him," he joked. "I would get in trouble for hitting him or doing anything. That's the only thing I can really do without hurting him."

Morris realizes he in some ways was a hero for those out there who don't like Smith and his opinions. The Wizards forward couldn't help but laugh at all of it.

"I know a lot of people probably wouldn't mind [if I hurt him], but my paycheck would have minded," he said.

[RELATED: Thomas thinks it's ridiculous Wizards were motivated by all-black stunt]

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Wizards have big questions to answer coming out of All-Star break

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller look ahead to the biggest questions the Wizards need to answer after the All-Star break. They also explain why Bradley Beal proved a lot in his first All-Star Game appearance.

They also unveiled a new segment involving guessing Wizards players based on their social media captions.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!

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Biggest storylines for Wizards coming out of the All-Star break center around John Wall

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USA Today Sports Images

Biggest storylines for Wizards coming out of the All-Star break center around John Wall

The Wizards experienced a wild ride before the All-Star break, but came out of it on solid ground, fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 33-24 record. With 27 games still remaining until the postseason, here is a look at the biggest storylines moving forward...

Who will they sign?

The Wizards are close to signing a new player as they were left with open roster spots following the trade deadline when they dealt guard Sheldon Mac to Atlanta for a second round pick. The Wizards have keyed in on the backup point guard position and are likely to go in that direction with the move. But they could still be in the market for other players, possibly someone at the backup wing position, even if they sign a point guard.

The Wizards only have a few days left to make a move because they need to get their roster to 14 players within 14 days of the Mac trade on Feb. 8. Their next game is on Thursday against the Cavaliers, so they could have someone in the building in time to play in that game.

RELATED: WIZARDS DID WELL IN FIRST HALF DESPITE OBSTACLES

When will Wall return?

Wall had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Jan. 31 and was prescribed a recovery timeline of six-to-eight weeks, meaning he still has about another three weeks to go before a return is possible. It could be another five weeks before he's back on the court. That puts him in the range of missing another 10-to-17 games.

The Wizards have played nine games since he went down and have won seven of them, but they aren't even halfway there yet. They have a long way to go. Because it's Wall and his return will have a domino effect, this is the most important storyline to watch for the Wizards moving forward.

How will Wall fit back in?

Wall's return will of course be a big deal for the Wizards. They will be adding an All-Star back into their lineup with just weeks before the start of the playoffs. But at the moment, they have a good thing going and are playing much better than they were in the last week or two before he was shut down. That, of course, had a lot to do with Wall playing injured.

It will be interesting if the Wizards are still winning at anything close to their current rate when Wall comes back. That would be the ideal scenario because they could ease him back into the lineup and take their time getting him up to speed. But it will also create a complex situation for head coach Scott Brooks, who will need to make adjustments to his rotation. The alternative would be if the Wizards aren't playing well when Wall returns and the concern there would be the urge to rush him back in any capacity.

PODCAST: BREAKING DOWN THE WIZARDS' FIRST HALF

Tough schedule

The Wizards have fared quite well for themselves so far with a 33-24 record despite injuries to Wall, Markieff Morris and Otto Porter to varying degrees. But they have done so while enjoying the easiest schedule in the NBA, 30th out of 30 teams. It is about to get a lot tougher coming out of the All-Star break.

All in the next five weeks the Wizards will see the Cavs, Bucks, Warriors, Raptors, Pacers (twice), Timberwolves, Celtics, Spurs (twice) and the Nuggets. Of their next 17 games, 15 will be against teams currently in the playoff picture. They could be without Wall for all of them. That won't be easy.

Can Oubre get back on track?

While Wall has been out, just about everyone on the Wizards has stepped their games up to compensate. Though he still impacts games in other ways, Kelly Oubre, Jr. has been one exception on offense. In his last 11 games, Oubre has averaged 9.4 points and shot just 31.2 percent from the field and 23.2 percent from three. In his previous 46 games, he averaged 12.4 points while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 40.5 percent from three.

That is a major difference and the Wizards certainly want to get the early-season version of Oubre back. At his best he is one of their most consistent scorers and an excellent three-point shooter. When he's contributing on both ends of the floor, the Wizards are tough to beat.

RELATED: 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT HAS LOADED CLASS