TORONTO -- The discipline that the Wizards lacked in their two losses out of the All-Star break came to the forefront in their latest two victories. Markieff Morris, stroking his chin and cracking a smile, knew not to overreact because it's an 82-game season with lots of ebbs and flows.
"Same team. Ain't (expletive) change. You don't make judgment off of two games," said Morris, who had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists in Wedneday's 105-96 wipeout of the Toronto Raptors. "Like I've said, Philly was a trap game. Not taking nothing away from Philly. Fresh off the break, they're playing balls-out hard. We were still in it and had a chance to win it. In the second game, Utah just beat our ass. They were just more prepared than we were."
The Wizards (36-23) have stacked two impressive victories, including over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, to erase the taste of their second loss this season to the Sixers.
They had a focus that was absent when they botched rotations on the perimeter, allowed dribble pentration and failed to make the extra efforts to protect the rim. It wasn't one player at fault but multiple ones.
Wednesday, they disrupted DeMar DeRozan as he had 24 points on just 7-for-20 shooting for Toronto. He didn't make his first shot until 4:20 remained in the first quarter on a post-up of the smaller Bradley Beal, but that was easy as his looks would come.
"It's hard to contest his shot because he has a high release and he's so athletic. He has a great shot fake before and after the dribble," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought we did as well as we could possibly do. We haven't particularly played him well. ... Our guys did a good job of staying engaged. Our switches were good."
Kelly Oubre would come in late in the first and force DeRozan into a miss on a drive with his 7-2 wingspan. He then harrassed him beyond the three-point line and drew a charge. DeRozan isn't a three-point shooter and he also is a master at the pump fake to get defenders out of position and on his hip. That's how he lives at the free-throw line to supplement his offense.
When Morris covered DeRozan on switches, he forced him to try to shoot over his 6-10 frame, not allowing him into the lane by biting those up-fakes.
"We're almost at the point where if you know what a guy's doing and you bite for that pump fake, you got to pay a fine," Morris said. "That's the type of level we're trying to get to. Guys know their assignments, what exactly he's going to do because it's going to be like that in the playoffs once we get there.
Morris only drew two fouls. He was in foul trouble vs. the Sixers and the Jazz. In the latter, he was ejected after he was assessed a technical for arguing a call and throwing the ball. That also cost him a $25,000 fine from the league. He had a flagrant 1 earlier in the game because he was frustrated by a no-call when he was shoved in the lower back by Jazz forward Derrick Favors.
"I hate to be scored on," said Morris, who had a season-high four blocks on Golden State and then became a set-up man with his ball distribution Wednesday. "I'm being selfish if I take fouls that's going to get me out the game so I'm just trying to get better with that."