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Markieff Morris on his slump after the All-Star break, looking ahead to first playoffs

Markieff Morris on his slump after the All-Star break, looking ahead to first playoffs

For some players, the first NBA playoff game they participate in is the first they have ever attended. Many players did not grow up around cities with NBA teams and others never made it to one for various reasons. 

Not Markieff Morris of the Wizards, who last year sat courtside for the Detroit Pistons' first round matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was there to support his twin brother, Marcus, and even donned a No. 13 Pistons jersey in the crowd. To accessorize, he wore a hat with the initials F.O.E., or 'Family Over Everything.' 

This year it will be Markieff's turn to go to the playoffs and participate for the first time in his six-year NBA career. He's thrilled about the opportunity for himself, but also his family.

"I'm excited for my family," he said. "It would mean a lot. I got a chance to watch my brother play in the playoffs last year for the first time. It was an unbelievable atmosphere and I was so happy for him. I just want to get out there and experience it with my family."

Morris, 27, remembers the atmosphere at The Palace of Auburn Hills last spring and is looking forward to a similar environment at the Verizon Center in just a few weeks.

"It was crazy, man. It was like being back at Kansas. It almost felt like I was playing," he said.

Morris and the Wizards have 11 games left before the playoffs begin and there are still plenty of things to sort out, both in terms of playoff seeding and within the team itself.  For Morris, he is trying to get back to being the player he was before the All-Star break.

In 25 games from Dec. 26 until the break, Morris averaged 17.2 points and eight rebounds on 49.2 percent shooting from the field and 40 percent from three. In the 14 games since returning, Morris has put up 11.3 points and 6.1 rebounds, shooting 43.4 percent from the field and 22.2 percent from three.

That's a major difference and some of it has to do with Morris dealing with a sinus infection to varying degrees for weeks. 

"I have been sick. But sometimes you just have those bad games," Morris said. "My intensity hasn't changed. I'm still the same player. We've got a couple new guys. We've been trying to adjust those guys to the team. But other than that, I'm the same player with the same intensity. I'm just trying to get ready for the playoffs."

The Wizards can clinch a playoff spot on Friday night with a win over the Nets and a loss for the Pistons, who play the Magic. Pretty soon it will be official that Markieff is going to the playoffs for the first time.

[RELATED: John Wall questionable for Friday night's game vs. Brooklyn Nets]

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Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest, Donovan Mitchell wins dunk contest

Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest, Donovan Mitchell wins dunk contest

It was a short night for Wizards guard Bradley Beal in the 2018 All-Star three-point contest on Saturday, as he was eliminated in the first round.

Wearing the Wizards' new 'The District' white alternate jersey, Beal shot a 15 and fell short of the top three spots to qualify for the second round. Suns guard Devin Booker won the contest with a 28 score in the final, beating out Klay Thompson of the Warriors and Tobias Harris of the Clippers.

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Beal's was undone by a slow start. He missed all five shots on the first rack and made just one on the second. He began to heat up at the third rack, but by then couldn't recover.

Here is Beal's full round:

This was Beal's second showing in the three-point contest. He finished second back in 2014 and this year said he was motivated to avenge that loss. He should have plenty more opportunities to participate in the future if he chooses.

The NBA's All-Star Saturday night began with Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie winning the skills competition. He beat Bulls big man Lauri Markkanen in the final round.

Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest. He edged Larry Nance, Jr. of the Cavaliers in the finals.

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

2018 NBA All-Star Saturday night: TV and live stream info, things to watch for dunk contest, three-point contest

The 2018 NBA All-Star Saturday Night is here with the three-point contest, dunk contest and skills competition set for Los Angeles.

Here is all you need to know: TV and live stream info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch:

2018 NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Where: Staples Center
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT
Online with no cable TV: fuboTV (try for free)

PODCAST: ALL-STAR WEEKEND PREVIEW, WIZARDS AT THE BREAK 

Skills competition

Participants: Lou Williams, Clippers; Jamal Murray, Nuggets; Al Horford, Celtics; Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets; Joel Embiid, Sixers; Buddy Hield, Kings; Lauri Markkanen, Bulls; Andre Drummond, Pistons

What to know: This year's crop has a fascinating mix of guards and big men and don't sleep on the seven-footers. Embiid in particular has a unique skillset for his size. Still, it's tough to beat the guards. Watch out for Dinwiddie, who is the best passer of the bunch.

RELATED: BETTING ODDS FOR DUNK CONTEST, THREE-POINT CONTEST

Three-point contest

Participants: Klay Thompson, Warriors; Eric Gordon, Rockets; Devin Booker, Suns; Paul George, Thunder; Wayne Ellington, Heat; Bradley Beal, Wizards; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; Tobias Harris, Clippers

What to know: Thompson and Gordon enter the contest as past champions, as Thompson won it in 2016 and Gordon took it home last year. Thompson has the best three-point percentage among the group and is the favorite, but watch out for Beal, a past runner-up, and George who has the second best percentage. Also, Booker is one of the game's best young players and has a very smooth stroke from three.

RELATED: WIZARDS/BULLETS HISTORY ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

Dunk contest

Participants: Dennis Smith Jr.; Mavericks; Donovan Mitchell, Jazz; Larry Nance Jr., Cavaliers; Victor Oladipo, Pacers

What to know: This is all about the rookies, Smith and Mitchell, who most are predicting to win. Oladipo has been in the contest before, but didn't win. He's also the only All-Star of the bunch. Nance is the only guy who isn't a guard and his father won it back in 1984. It will be interesting to see if he does some sort of nod to his old man, now 34 years later.

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