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Wittman updates Wall's status, calls G5 effort 'Incredible'

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Wittman updates Wall's status, calls G5 effort 'Incredible'

The Wizards are back home, but did not practice Thursday following a gut punch of a loss in Atlanta for Game 5. Head coach Randy Wittman did speak with reporters via conference call. 

Primary takeaways following the 82-81 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, which put Washington in a 3-2 hole in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series:

"It was a hard fought game. Turnovers was a thing that plagued us," Wittman stated. "Couple of bad shot selections when we were up nine. (Al) Horford makes a three from the corner in that stretch. We lose (Kyle) Korver, one of the few times we lost him in transition and he hits a three. The nine (point lead) goes to three pretty quick and now (they're) back into the ballgame. Nothing really we looked at and said, "Boy I wish we could have changed that' other than maybe shot selection during that stretch."

Leading 73-64 with under six minutes remaining, the Wizards missed seven straight shots including six jumpers. The Hawks scored 14 straight points for a 76-73 with 2:55 left. As for the turnovers, Washington had 19, six less than Atlanta.

John Wall 's status: Wittman said the All-Star guard is scheduled to have his fractured left hand and wrist evaluated by team doctors later on Thursday. "So far so good. ...After the game everything looked good in terms of no swelling. That was a good sign. ...Right now I'm anticipating he'll be able to play."

Swing of emotions from nearly winning Games 4 and possibly be single victory away from advancing to the Eastern Conference finals to being one loss away from elimination. "You can't dwell on looking back. We're down 3-2. Coming home. We have to worry about one game. That's all we have to worry about right now. That's the game (Friday) night. I think some other teams. We know what we have to do to beat the team. It's now just a matter of going out and being the most consistent team.

Defensive sequence on Al Horford's game-winning putback: "I thought John made a great play on the ball. It was blocked. You had a melee of basically eight guys going to the board and Al is the one the that came down with it. That's basically what happened. ...There's not going to be calls made own the stretch like that. It's every man for himself. ...I thought we stayed home pretty much when they decided to have Schroder go one-on-one against John. John made a good play at that basket to block it. It was a free ball that came down into their hands.

Wall's performance after missing the last three games and minimal practice tie because of the five fractures in his left hand/wrist: "It was incredible. Seriously, if you think back 10 days when he hurt it. You couldn't tell if he had five fingers because it was so swollen to finding five fractures to 10 days later playing a game that he played. That's a credit to (him). I've tried telling you guys...he's the toughest kid I've been around. I think that was evidenced last night. ...Not only just to try to play, but play the way John plays (with) reckless abandon.

"That was our main focus when he and I talked. It wasn't so much him wanting to come back and play. I told John it had to be, not only for his sake but the team's sake, he had to be mentally able to go out there and play recklessly without worrying about anything. I though that's what he did."

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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

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!