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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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Rui Hachmiura takes water break, uses real waterboy in NBA 2K20 Player Tournament victory

Rui Hachmiura takes water break, uses real waterboy in NBA 2K20 Player Tournament victory

He may have not been on an actual basketball court, but Rui Hachimura must have still broken a sweat during his NBA 2K matchup with Donovan Mitchell on Sunday.

He needed a real-life water break - and even had some help from a waterboy.

Hachimura, the 13 seed, took on four-seed Mitchell in the NBA 2K20 Player Tournament, and came out with a 74-71 victory. 

The winner of the tournament receives $100,000 to go to a charity in support of coronavirus relief efforts.

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Wizards continue win streak, beat Pacers in 2K simulation

Wizards continue win streak, beat Pacers in 2K simulation

The Wizards picked up their sixth-straight win in eight games in Sunday night’s NBA 2K simulation, beating the Indiana Pacers 67-51 on the road.  

Bradley Beal wasted no time getting things started, knocking down an early three to put the Wizards on the board.   

Later in the second, Beal proved just how difficult he is to guard. With an assist from Davis Bertans, Beal finished with a huge slam to lift the Wizards over the Pacers 30-28, closing out the half.

Beal finished the game with 23 points in 21 minutes. 

Here’s how the Wizards won: 

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Rui Hachimura shows off

The rookie set the tone with a big alley-oop dunk in the first quarter, extending Washington’s lead by seven. He had 12 points at the end of the first half with 10 in the paint. 

Hachimura came back fueled up in the third, knocking the ball loose from T.J. Warren with a steal and dunk. 

 

Hachimura finished with 20 points, four rebounds and three steals. 

Game of runs 

Washington took advantage of a set pace to take an early lead over Indiana. The Wizards started the game with both a 7-0 and 13-2 run in the first quarter. 

The Pacers used their defense to answer in the second, taking the lead on a 22-6 run before the Wizards followed with a 16-6 run to end the quarter 35-30 at the half.

It got pretty close early in the third when Indiana went on a 9-4 run to cut the lead to 39-38 but the Wizards were able to fully reload going on a 13-2 run.

The Wizards would go on to continue the run to 29-9 later in the fourth to extend the lead to 19 with 35 seconds left.  

Washington had 11 offensive rebounds, nine steals (eight of which came in the second half alone) and 21 assists on 27 made field goals. 

Big man in the paint

Thomas Bryant controlled the boards with 15 rebounds.

The 2K Wizards look to continue their winning streak as they return home to virtually host the Toronto Raptors, the reigning NBA champions on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. 

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