BOSTON — All systems are go for the Wizards going into Game 7 vs. the Boston Celtics tonight.
Bojan Bogdanovic is over his illness and Markieff Morris will end up starting every game of the semifinals despite a severe left ankle sprain that even had coach Scott Brooks in doubt.
“I’ve seen a guy that’s a fighter," said Brooks of Morris, who didn't return in Game 1 after Al Horford slid his foot underneath him on a jump shot.
"When he landed on Horford that put him in a tough position going forward. .. . There’s been a few games where we thought, 'Maybe he's not playing tonight.' He’s sucked it up every night. … Certain things you’re going to fight through and he has the toughness to fight through it."
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Morris has been hot and cold in the series, but was key on both ends in a 92-91 win in Game 6 at Verizon Center. Morris had 16 points and 11 rebounds and defended Isaiah Thomas on his last-second heave at the end that went long.
On Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, Kawhi Leonard, who like Morris had a sore ankle entering the series, went down when Zaza Pachulia did something similar to Horford. Leonard didn't return and the San Antonio Spurs unraveled in their upset bid of the Golden State Warriors.
It's a dangerous play that's not ruled a flagrant by league officials, but the consequences can be so severe maybe it should be.
"I can't imagine a player wanting to hurt another player on purpose but I’m not saying it’s never happened," said Brooks, who spent 10 years a pro.
"There’s been dirty players in this league’s history and there are dirty players now. You just have to be careful. Referees are going to have to do a great job monitoring it. It is a dangerous play. A guy goes up for a shot, he’s focused on landing on a smooth surface. Not on a Nike."
Morris been up front with his anger towards Horford, and he threw him to the floor in Game 2. It's that kind of edge the Wizards will need to have a chance to win Game 7 in TD Garden, a place they've failed at every year since 2014. They're 0-5 this season.
"Going into the last game it was sore," Brooks said of Morris' ankle. "Talked to him today. He feels great. Looking forward to tonight’s game."
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