Going into Wednesday night's matchup with the Hawks, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks made a change in hopes of bringing more balance to his rotation. Through the Wizards' first three games this season, all losses, he saw subpar results from his bench. So, he decided to take starting power forward Markieff Morris and move him around, sometimes playing him alongside starters like John Wall and Bradley Beal, while other times letting him run with bench players like Tomas Satoransky and Marcus Thornton.
The Wizards' second unit had struggled on both ends of the floor and Morris' versatility, in theory, could help spark them in numerous ways. That call ultimately proved wise, as Morris set the tone for the Wizards early on with 14 points and eight boards in the first half.
"I thought tonight that decision in the second unit helped us in the first half to get a good lead. He had a good offensive game going," Brooks said.
After Brooks told Morris his idea, the Wizards big man approached Wall and Beal with some advice.
"He came to me and Brad before the game and said y'all two just be aggressive in the first quarter," Wall said. "We knew he was going to be taken out in the first and be used a lot more in the second unit to get them some movement and somebody to throw the ball to in the post and play out of him. I think that's where he started being more aggressive."
Morris' first six points on Wednesday all came within a span of 1:41 in the second quarter. The sequence was highlighted by a fadeaway jumper after a spin move against Kris Humphries.
His best moments, however, may have come on defense where Morris was a force all night against three-time All-Star Paul Millsap. The Hawks power forward was limited to 16 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
"I thought he did a great job of competing and making him miss a lot of shots," Brooks said.
Morris also helped seal the game by contesting a Kyle Korver three-point attempt with 3.9 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
"The biggest play of the game was he had a great switch on Korver. And that's not easy for Kief to do, but he handled it well. He saw it and disrupted their last play. He made a great decision in staying in front of him," Brooks said.
It was a complete effort for Morris who for one night looked like the key to preventing the dropoff previously seen from the Wizards' first and second units.
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