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Markieff Morris gets best of twin brother Marcus in Wizards' win

Markieff Morris gets best of twin brother Marcus in Wizards' win

Markieff Morris returned to the Wizards' starting lineup on Friday night, giving Washington their best power forward just in time to face a Detroit Pistons team that features a lot of beef in the middle with guys like Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris down low. It also gave Morris a rare opportunity to face off with another NBA player he knows quite well.

That would be Marcus Morris, his twin brother whom he played with both in college at Kansas University and in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns. Markieff and Marcus were both in their respective starting lineups and found themselves guarding each other from time to time throughout the night.

Their matchup was highlighted by a play in the third quarter that saw Marcus taking it hard to the rim on a fastbreak. Markieff met him there and blocked his shot out of bounds, sending Marcus down to the ground in a heap under the basket. Markieff then helped Marcus up and the two shared a laugh.

It was a moment of levity in an otherwise heated battle and it brought some pretty great quotes from the postgame locker room, including Markieff describing what their mother was probably thinking watching the play.

"She just sits there and watches it. I know she said I was probably going to hurt her baby when I knocked him down," he said.

Markieff and Marcus chatted for a moment before the next play. Markieff said his brother thought it was a foul:

"He could have got the foul; [I] wish he had got the foul."

Markieff's teammates found the whole dynamic entertaining.

"That was funny. I just wanted to see what would happen after the play," John Wall said.

"Kief said that's his dog, but he still had to do what had to be done. So, no hard feelings in here," said Bradley Beal, whose brother played Division I basketball. "At this level I can only imagine what that's like [to play your brother]. That's probably an amazing feeling. I definitely know the hype and the competitiveness behind the game, too."

Markieff and Marcus have played against each other plenty of times before, but they are still more used to playing together. For so many years they were on the same team, now they are adversaries on teams jockeying for position in the Eastern Conference.

That doesn't mean he can't wish his brother well.

"I just want to see him do good. Again, as long as we win, he can do good. And we won, it’s cool," Markieff said.

Markieff got the win and had the better night with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting. Marcus scored just two points and shot 1-of-8 from the field.


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Wizards’ Isaiah Thomas returns to practice days before season opener

Wizards’ Isaiah Thomas returns to practice days before season opener

Five weeks after undergoing surgery on his left thumb, Wizards point guard Isaiah Thomas returned to practice Sunday and was a full participant.

Originally expected to miss 6-8 weeks in recovery, Thomas is on track to play much sooner than anticipated. Wizards head coach Scott Brooks wouldn’t go as far to say Thomas would be ready for Washington’s season opener against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, but he did seem optimistic that he’d be playing in the near future.

Thomas signed a one-year minimum deal with the Wizards in July. Once healthy, he’s expected to be the team’s starting point guard with Ish Smith and Justin Robinson coming off the bench.


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Wizards' biggest storylines coming out of the preseason

Wizards' biggest storylines coming out of the preseason

The Wizards closed their 2019-20 preseason schedule with a win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, which means up next is the regular season opener on Wednesday night in Dallas. Now that the exhibition schedule is (finally) over, here are five takeaways from what we saw...

Injuries have added up

The Wizards entered this preseason with a lot of things to sort out in their rotation due to the significant roster overhaul they went through in the summer. But injuries complicated things further for head coach Scott Brooks, who wasn't offered anything close to a full cupboard to work with.

The most notable injuries were to Isaiah Thomas (thumb) and Troy Brown Jr. (calf). Both players will be key members of the rotation when they recover, but are each on track to miss the start of the regular season. The same goes for C.J. Miles, who has a foot injury. There is also Ian Mahinmi, who has an Achilles issue, though he is not likely to play a big role on the team this season.

Hachimura looks the part

The early returns on rookie Rui Hachimura have been good. The 2019 ninth overall pick has not looked timid or out of place on an NBA floor. He has shown he can attack the rim assertively and has even made a few threes. Those two areas will be key to watch for him this season; how he can adapt to NBA interior defenders and shooting threes from a longer distance.

Hachimura is a likely starter for the Wizards this season and should get ample shot opportunities. He is going to have a chance to be a focal point of the Wizards' offense and probably a long enough leash to play through his mistakes. As a young player, you can't ask for much more than that.

Also impressive this preseason were Moe Wagner, who was much better than he showed in the Las Vegas Summer League, and Thomas Bryant, who looks like he is going to take another step from his breakout season last year. Bryant is more confident knocking down threes and has been a force on the glass. Don't be surprised if he averages a double-double this season.

Small forward is a question

The Wizards had Brown penciled in to be their full-time starting small forward, according to a person familiar with their plans, but his injury is expected to keep him out to start the season. He did a post-practice workout the other day and wasn't moving very quickly, either due to discomfort in his calf or to be extra cautious in fear of a setback.

Either way, he is still rehabbing and so is Miles. The Wizards also released Justin Anderson, leaving them with no obvious choice to start at the three. At this point, it looks likely they will have to either put someone there that is probably best suited for another position like Hachimura, Davis Bertans or Jordan McRae, or roll with someone who is very inexperienced like Bonga or Admiral Schofield. The odds seem better they choose the former.

Final roster spot?

The Wizards now have to decide who gets their final roster spot. The safe money at this point is probably for point guard Justin Robinson and wing Jordan McRae to be the 14th and 15th players on the roster and for Chris Chiozza to have his contract converted to a two-way deal.

The Chiozza part has been speculated for weeks and it is the direction the team is leaning, NBC Sports Washington was told. If Chiozza did get the two-way contract, he could remain with the team to start the season and help fill the void at point guard while Thomas recovers from his left thumb surgery. Chiozza would have 45 days allotted at the NBA level, but that clock would not begin until Oct. 28 when G-League training camps open.

Beal's commitment

This season took on an entirely different tone with Thursday's news Bradley Beal would sign a contract extension with the Wizards. This year had the potential to be overshadowed by Beal's uncertain future, but now that has been put to rest. The trade rumors can be set aside as Beal has made it official his commitment to the Wizards' plan.

Now, that could get interesting late in the year if losses are piling up. He ultimately wants to win and it will bear watching how he shows his frustration if the team isn't playing up to his standards.