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.