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Scott Brooks won't allow Markieff Morris to strong arm him into playing Game 2 vs. Celtics

Scott Brooks won't allow Markieff Morris to strong arm him into playing Game 2 vs. Celtics

BOSTON – Not a whole lot has changed in regards to Markieff Morris’ status for Game 2 vs. the Boston Celtics, but coach Scott Brooks isn’t going to allow his starting power forward to scare him into letting him play with a sore left ankle.  

“He’s going to play tonight if he feels comfortable along with our staff, our medical staff, and myself. (If he doesn’t), he won’t play,” Brooks said after shootaround Tuesday morning. “He’s not going to play no matter how many times he punches me in the face. It’s not going to happen. He is pretty intimidating, but I’m not going to allow him to intimidate me.”

Morris, who rolled his left ankle in the first half of Game 1, got up shots and tested the ankle at a light, 30-minute shootaround but didn’t make any sharp cuts. He rolled it after Al Horford stuck his foot underneath him on a jump shot in Game 1 that Boston seized 123-111.

“I’m feeling cool. Going to talk to my coaches. Game-time decision,” Morris said. “It’s sore but I feel like I can push through it.”

Morris has had a long history with ankle injuries, and he eventually missed time after going down in November in a game with the Miami Heat.

“The swelling has gone down. He’s been diligent along with our staff to get treatments around the clock. You have to factor he has a toughness about him. He has an edge,” Brooks said. “He wants to play. I still don’t know. I’ll find out more probably 65-70 minutes before the game.

“We’re going to do what’s best for him. Every competitive athlete wants to be out there with their team. It’s the playoffs. We’re down 1-0 but with all that being said we’re going to do what’s best for him long-term.”

[RELATED: Celtics' Horford on whether he intentionally hurt Morris]

If Morris isn’t able to go, Kelly Oubre will start in his place. Oubre began the third quarter of Game 1 when Morris didn’t return.

“At this stage, you have to play through some soreness and pain. But you’re not going to play through an injury. We’re not going to allow that. There’s a big difference,” Brooks said. “If you’re hurt you’re going to sit down and get ready to play when you’re ready to play. If you’re sore you’ve got to take a look and test it.

“We don’t want him to be out there (like) Willis Reed, make two shots and sit on the bench, emotional lift. We want him to be able to play and be effective for us.”

Morris will get treatment throughout Game 2 when playing and ride an exercise bike to keep it loose and warm.

He doesn’t know how it will respond unless he’s in real-time action. He said the ankle feels better after he estimated his pain was at a 5 on a 1-10 scale on Monday.

“It went down some,” Morris said of the swelling, “but you don’t really get the full effect unless your adrenaline is going. Me being out here shooting with a little bit of pain won’t be the same as a game when my adrenaline is on 100 so that’s just basically where we’re at right now.”

Morris’ mother wants him to play. His twin, Marcus, wants him to play, too.

Though he respects Brooks’ authority, Morris wants it to be his decision.

“It’s my career isn’t it?” he said.

[RELATED: Morris wants face-to-face meeting with Horford after injury]

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Bradley Beal passing Wes Unseld on Wizards' scoring list a reminder of his place among franchise greats

Bradley Beal passing Wes Unseld on Wizards' scoring list a reminder of his place among franchise greats

WASHINGTON -- John Wall, Bradley Beal, Wes Unseld. That's how the Wizards' all-time scoring list reads from No.'s three through five after Monday's Wizards win over the Pistons, as Beal moved into sole possession of fourth place with a good chance of passing Wall before the season is over.

Unseld remains the most accomplished player in Wizards/Bullets franchise history as an NBA champion, 1977-78 Finals MVP, 1968-69 league MVP and rookie of the year plus a Hall of Fame induction. But Beal passing him is another reminder he already has a place among Wizards and Bullets luminaries.

"That's an honor because that list is full of greats, true Wizards and Bullets legends. To be a part of that is an honor," Beal said. 

Within the context of Wizards franchise history, Beal has already separated himself as one of the best to ever suit up. In addition to being fourth in points, he is the all-time leader in three-pointers, sixth in assists, seventh in steals and 10th in win shares. He also has the single-season record for threes. That's not bad for a guy who is 26 years old. 

The Wizards/Bullets franchise, of course, doesn't have the same historic success as others like the Celtics and Lakers, but it has been around for 59 seasons. During that time 444 different players have appeared in a game for them.

The franchise goes all the way back to 1962 when they were known as the Chicago Packers. Along the way, there have been more losses (2597) than wins (2142), but many All-Stars and decorated players have come through.

Continuing to make his mark on the Wizards/Bullets franchise seems to be genuinely important to Beal. During his halftime interview with NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller, he mentioned the team's Baltimore days when discussing the Unseld feat. Back when he signed his contract extension in October, he explained the decision partly in terms of creating a legacy in Washington and taking the franchise to places it hasn't been in a long time.

On Monday, he alluded to those goals again.

"I never would have dreamt of that or thought of that coming here. To still be here is an honor, too. I'm just taking it in full stride. I've still got a lot more basketball to play, so who knows where I'll end up," he said.

Beal is well on his way to being widely known as one of the best players in Wizards/Bullets history. If he plays many more years in Washington and doesn't leave on bad terms, he will likely have his jersey retired someday.

But in order to reach the true top tier of Wizards/Bullets greats, he will have to lead them to some playoff success. Getting to the conference finals, where Washington hasn't been since the 1970s, would certainly stand out.

Still, if you were putting together a roster of the best players in Wizards/Bullets history, he would already be included.

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Despite place in standings, Wizards believe playoffs aren't a pipe dream

Despite place in standings, Wizards believe playoffs aren't a pipe dream

WASHINGTON -- This may be the most realistic and self-aware Wizards team we have seen in a while. It wasn't long ago they had a penchant for talking big about what they believed they could accomplish. Nowadays, knowing where they are in the standings, their expectations are much more measured.

They know they are 12th in the Eastern Conference, even after beating the Pistons on Monday. They know their 14-28 record, which is 14 games under .500 and has them on pace to win 27 total games, isn't good.

But the Wizards are allowed to dream and they say making the playoffs is still something they would like to do.

"That's the goal, that's every day for us. [It's] in the back of my mind," shooting guard Bradley Beal said.

"I watch the games, I watch the standings and everything. We're not talking about it," head coach Scott Brooks said. "If that comes into play [we'll see]. The seventh and eighth seeds, the records aren't great."

There is certainly a case for that. The two teams currently occupying the bottom two playoff spots in the East have sub-.500 records. The seventh-ranked Magic are 20-23 and the Brooklyn Nets are in eighth with an 18-24 mark.

Last season, the Charlotte Hornets held up the Eastern Conference playoff bracket with a losing record as the eighth seed. They went 39-43, not good but still a much better pace than the Wizards are currently on. To win 39 games, they would have to go 25-16 the rest of the way.

Though they have shown some positive signs, going 4-4 in their last eight games, that would require going to a completely different level in the second half of the season. Still, there is no harm in maintaining their goals.

Beal, for one, has envisioned a way it can happen.

"Especially once All-Star hits, that second half is just flying. We have to tighten up and try to get some wins here before the break because that's usually the time when teams like to ease off the pedal a little bit. We have to take advantage of [that], that advantage of our schedule, take care of our bodies, and rally together," he said.

If the Wizards really, really wanted to go for the playoffs, they could try to add some pieces before the Feb. 6 trade deadline. But that should not be expected. In fact, this year's deadline for the Wizards likely won't be affected much at all by the playoff picture.

It's hard to envision them being buyers and they may not be able to be true sellers, either, due to injuries and other factors. Also, there is a belief in the front office that keeping a close distance in the playoff race could be a nice incentive for their young players, that having something to work for later in the season could help their development.

If the Wizards did somehow make the playoffs or even get close, that would be quite the surprise and it would say a lot about the direction of the organization. But in the long-term, it would seem to be more beneficial if they continue on their current course and end up with a top draft pick.

The Wizards right now have the fifth-worst record in the league. That would net them a lot of ping-pong balls for the draft lottery.

It seems likely that's where this season will end. But it doesn't hurt to try.

"We just want to play. We just want to finish the second half of the season playing better," Brooks said.

The Wizards are only four games back in the playoff race. Stranger things have happened.

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