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Wizards' Markieff Morris dismisses ankle issues entering Game 7 vs. Celtics: '(Expletive) this ankle'

Wizards' Markieff Morris dismisses ankle issues entering Game 7 vs. Celtics: '(Expletive) this ankle'

It's easy to forget what Markieff Morris is playing through as the Wizards head into Game 7 vs. the Boston Celtics. He can't practice. He's not anywhere near top form, but he doesn't care about his left ankle.

"(Expletive) this ankle," Morris told CSNmidatlantic.com. "I'm not worried about my ankle right now. I'm worried about winning."

That came after he limped away from Friday's thrilling comeback to beat Boston on John Wall's three-pointer, 92-91. 

Morris logged 39 minutes on an ankle that was injured in Game 1 when Al Horford stuck his foot underneath him on a jump shot that caused a him to crash to the floor. Morris didn't return in that loss, but he hasn't missed a game despite it being the worst injury that he has experienced in his career.

[RELATED: Morris, Wall get laughs out of Celtics' funeral game attempt]

"Keef’s minutes were tremendous all game long," Wizards coach Scott Brooks said of his combo forward who had 16 points and 11 rebounds. "He’s been nursing an ankle injury but never, not once, has he made an excuse. I’m proud of that."

Morris' three-pointer put the Wizards up 82-80 with 3:45 left in Game 6 and then the Celtics would go on a 7-0 run to set the up a frantic finish that included big shots by Bradley Beal and Wall down the stretch.

It was Morris' defense forced Isaiah Thomas into a turnover that lead bo Beal's three-pointer. Morris also stay on top of Thomas on the last possession that forced the 5-9 point guard to miss the potential winning shot from long range. 

"I don't shoot at all. I just go back to treament every day," said Morris, who hasn't practiced since the onset of the injury. "It's not swollen as much but the pain is still there. It's the worst injury I've ever had."

[RELATED: Markieff Morris explains why he slapped Stephen A. Smith on the butt]

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The Wizards offense and defense are on opposite ends of the efficiency spectrum

The Wizards offense and defense are on opposite ends of the efficiency spectrum

As good as the Wizards' offense has been through the first nine games of the 2019-20 regular season, their defense continues to prevent the team from putting multiple wins together. 

According to NBA Stats, the Wizards sport the league's sixth-best offense, scoring an impressive 110.3 points per 100 possessions, but rank 29th in defense. Compared to the other top-10 offenses in the NBA, the Wizards have the worst net rating at -4.4. 

For Washington to have a borderline elite offense and still post such a bad net rating, it speaks to just how bad their defense has been.

NBA Math charts team's standing in the league based on their offensive and defensive efficiencies and their latest graph depicts the Wizards' problems quite perfectly. 

According to the graphic, the Wizards have a better offense than teams like the Rockets, Lakers, Clippers and Raptors, who are all on track for deep playoff runs. 

However, their defense ranks below the likes of the Knicks, Hornets and Grizzlies. 

The silver lining here is the offense has been great and has more than enough weapons to keep up the production. Bradley Beal is putting up career scoring numbers despite uncharacteristically low shooting splits, Rui Hachimura continues to get better every day and Isaiah Thomas is showing more explosiveness on his drives. 

Defensive success in the NBA mostly comes from effort, so if the Wizards can turn it up a notch or two there they should be able to stay competitive with almost any team in the league.


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Marc Spears sees Rui Hachimura's impact stretching farther than on the court

Marc Spears sees Rui Hachimura's impact stretching farther than on the court

Hopes were high entering the season that Rui Hachimura could become a foundational piece for the Washington Wizards, and for the most part, he has lived up to all the hype. 

His impact on the court is undeniable for a struggling Wizards team. He's the third-leading scorer on the roster behind Bradley Beal and Thomas Bryant at 14.4 points per game just nine games into his career, and he ranks top five among NBA rookies in points, field goal shooting and rebounds. 

Hachimura is not your average rookie, though. When the Wizards drafted him ninth overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, they were certainly adding a player with high upside and translatable skills, but his popularity in his home country of Japan has arguably made a bigger imprint on his time as a professional. 

Marc Spears, senior NBA writer at The Undefeated, joined Chris Miller and Gary Carter on the Wizards Talk Podcast to discuss the rookie's sizeable impact both on and off the court. 

"I love his game, I love his aggressiveness offensively," Spears said. "I think he's a good rebounder but could be a great rebounder, and the one thing I really like is the fact that, unlike a lot of the Japanese baseball players who get annoyed by it, he's embraced the media, he's embraced the Japanese media and wants to be a voice out there.

"And I think it's making him some money off the court because he's been so open-minded to it."

Hachimura has been on Spears' radar. Spears watched him live three times while the rookie was playing at Gonzaga last season and wrote a story about how Hachimura is trying to help multi-racial kids like himself. 

At one of the games where Gonzaga played Santa Clara in late January, Spears noticed a Japanese basketball league called San Jose Zebra in attendance.

"There were kids in that program who came to that game and were basically in awe of seeing somebody that was actually like them," Spears said. 

The Wizards' rebuild hinges on players like Hachimura developing into foundational pieces, but it's clear there's a bigger picture regarding the rookie's success. 

The better he gets, the more his star will grow both in the United States and in Japan.