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Takeaways from Wizards' last-second loss to Pacers

Takeaways from Wizards' last-second loss to Pacers

With the chance to win both games of a back-to-back in reach, the Wizards couldn't cash even as Bradley Beal's long jumper -- appeared to be a three but his foot big right toe was on the line -- tied the score. Paul George did them in again Monday night on both ends, but someone else hit the game-winner for the Indiana Pacers. 

Thaddeus Young got the ball on a broken play on an inbounds, drove to his left and lofted up a left-handed shot for a 107-105 victory at BankersLife Fieldhouse. Beal had a chance with 0.9 seconds to win it on a catch-and-shoot from the corner but the ball went off the rim as the buzzer sounded.

George, who went for 40 in their first meeting a season ago and made two foul shots at the end of a game last year for victories, had a five-point spurt late in the fourth quarter to break open a close game. The Wizards, however, responded with a 7-2 run to bring it down to the wire.

The loss ended the Wizards’ three-game winning streak. It’s the first of a three-game trip to the Midwest that includes stops at the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday and at the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday. 

Marcin Gortat (21 points, 13 rebounds) had his 15th double-double to lead the Wizards (12-15). John Wall (19 points, 10 assists) had his 16th double-double, Bradley Beal (22 points, three assists) and Otto Porter (17 points, nine rebounds) contributed as well.

George (27 points, nine rebounds) and Jeff Teague (23 points, 10 assists) led the Pacers (15-14). Myles Turner (20 points, eight rebounds, five blocks) and Young (12 points, 11 rebounds) were factors as were C.J. Miles (10 points) and Al Jefferson (10 ponts) off the bench.

--Beal picked up his fourth foul on a reach-in on Turner at 10:33 of the third quarter. He’d missed a runner and had been scoreless after scoring 10 in the second quarter. But Beal, who was defended by George to cool him down, also missed open looks. In the second half, George was incredibly physical with Beal who had difficulty getting free on screens but George picked up his fourth foul by 6:15 of the fourth quarter.

--Turner, a center, was a coverage problem as he was able to get open looks from the arc. He was 8-for-13 from the field, including 1-for-2 from three-point range.

--Teague lived in the paint. He scored 11 of his points in the third quarter when Indiana made its run and took a 88-79 lead entering the fourth. The Wizards entered the game 2-11 when trailing in that situation. They were 9-2 when leading going into the final 12 minutes.

-- Jason Smith returned from a right hamstring injury that kept him out Sunday and he made two open jumpers on his only two shots. He went to the bench after the four minutes because he picked up three fouls. Andrew Nicholson (6 points) filled in.

--Tomas Satoransky has played sparingly, but when Kelly Oubre had a putback off a scramble the opportunity was created by the guard battling with three Pacers. Then Satoransky found Porter slicing for a layup that forced a timeout with the deficit down to 79-75. But Satoransky was beaten in the paint by Teague, biting on his upfake as the Pacers went back up 92-88 and shot an airball on the next play while wide open from three-point range.

[RELATED: Wall grants 'biggest fan's' birthday wish]

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Markieff Morris

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Markieff Morris

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Markieff Morris' season...

Player: Markieff Morris

Position: Power forward

Age: 28

2017-18 salary: $8 million

2017-18 stats: 73 G, 27.0 mpg, 11.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.9 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.5 bpg, 48.0 FG%, 36.7 3P%, 82.0 FT%, 53.6 eFG%, 116 ORtg, 112 DRtg

Best game: 12/1 vs. Pistons - 23 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, zero turnovers, 10-for-16 FG, 2-for-3 3PT

Season review: It took quite a while for Markieff Morris to get healthy in the 2017-18 season. He was sidelined to begin last offseason with the ankle injury he suffered against the Celtics in the playoffs, then in September had surgery on both his abdomen and groin. The sports hernia surgery was known, while the groin procedure was revealed once the season was over.

Morris only missed nine games in the entire season, but took time to find his rhythm early. He averaged just 9.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 14 games in the month of November. He picked it up after that, though he never quite reached the level we saw from him in 2016-17 in terms of volume production.

Morris played less minutes, took less shots, scored fewer points and grabbed less rebounds than the season before. On the other hand, he was more efficient than ever. Morris shot 48 percent from the field, his best since 2013-14, and posted career-highs in three-point percentage (36.7) and effective field-goal percentage (53.6). 

The Wizards could use more scoring from Morris moving forward, especially at times when one of their primary options is injured, as was the case in 2017-18 when John Wall missed 41 games. An active and engaged Morris changes everything for the Wizards. 

When Morris scored 15 points or more this season, the Wizards went 15-8. The season before, they went 22-9 when he got to the 15-point mark. 

It's a bit difficult to project Morris' role for the 2018-19 season at this point, given the fact he's entering a contract year and the most logical area for the Wizards to make significant changes (if they choose to) is in their frontcourt. Also, as Morris discussed in his exit interview, he knows more time at center in small-ball sets could be in his future.

Regardless of what happens with the team, it's a huge summer for Morris individually. If he sets himself up well for a big year in 2018-19, he could earn a nice payday in what might be his last long-term contract given his age.

Potential to improve: Rebounding, screens, scoring

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Marcin Gortat, C

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Marcin Gortat

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Marcin Gortat

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Marcin Gortat's season...

Player: Marcin Gortat

Position: Center

Age: 34

2017-18 salary: $12.8 million

2017-18 stats: 82 G, 25.3 mpg, 8.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 1.8 apg, 0.5 spg, 0.7 bpg, 51.8 FG%, 67.5 FT%, 51.8 eFG%, 112 ORtg, 107 DRtg

Best game: 10/18 vs. Sixers - 16 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks, assist, 7-for-12 FG

Season review: Marcin Gortat is self-aware enough to know that what happened to him in 2017-18 was inevitable in many ways. He even publicly called it before the season.

He was one year older, with Ian Mahinmi healthy and in the rotation, and with the NBA continuing to move towards small-ball and big men who can play on the perimeter. As a result, Gortat saw his role in the Wizards rotation pared down noticeably.

Though he still started all 82 games, his minutes went down from 31.2 per game the year before the 25.3. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who played the majority of the season coming off the bench, logged more minutes than Gortat, though he was a starter.

Gortat's minutes were his fewest since the 2009-10 season, when he was a 25-year-old bench player for the Orlando Magic. His numbers this season followed suit. Gortat's points and rebounds per game were both the lowest since that 2009-10 campaign.

Gortat averaged a career-best 10.4 rebounds per game in 2016-17, but the minutes had a direct effect on his volume of boards. He pulled in 2.4 less per game this season despite his rebound percentage (17.0) being close to his career average (17.5). That career average, by the way, is 30th-best all-time an eighth among active players.

Not getting the same opportunities he had in years past, plus public misunderstandings with teammates, combined to make for a frustrating year for Gortat. He said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast midseason it was the worst year of his career. Gortat, though, did continue to make an impact setting screens for the Wizards and he rallied to finish relatively strong.

He had several solid outings in the playoffs, including his 16 points in Game 3 and his 12 rebounds in Game 5. The question is whether that is the last time we will see Gortat in a Wizards uniform.

Washington has played with the idea of trading Gortat for a while now. He popped up in rumors around the trade deadline in February, but remained on the roster. Now he has an expiring contract working in his favor, making it a bit more likely he gets dealt.

Gortat knows his future in Washington is uncertain, though he said following the season he would like to stay. It would not be surprising to him or anyone if he were traded this summer. If not, he's got one year left with the Wizards and could very well have his role decreased even more.

Potential to improve: Rim protection, midrange shooting, free throw percentage

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

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