Markieff Morris put in his best game of the season so far on Thursday night against the Lakers despite not yet being in midseason physical shape, suffering a new injury midgame and afterwards revealing that he's still dealing with discomfort from the ankle injury he suffered in the playoffs against the Celtics.
Morris is a walking injury list, yet his outing against the Lakers was about as efficient as offensive performances get. Morris dropped 16 points in 17 minutes on 6-of-7 shooting with five rebounds. He was 2-for-2 from three and 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
Not bad for a guy who was playing just his fourth game following a six-week recovery from sports hernia surgery.
"I definitely don’t feel myself yet," he said.
Adding to his plight was the fact his left knee stiffened up in the first quarter. He left for the locker room and returned in the second quarter, but he spent much of his time the rest of the night staying loose on an exercise bike in the tunnel at Capital One Arena.
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That knee is on the same leg as the ankle he hurt in May when Al Horford stepped under his jumpshot in Game 1 of the Wizards-Celtics playoff series. Morris joked that he's had dozens of MRIs, X-rays and catscans on his ankle and all of them came back clean.
Whether the two injuries are related or not, they are more of an annoyance at this point than anything. Morris showed on Thursday night he still has enough to help change games with his offense.
The Wizards got him started early in the post, as he knocked down a fadeaway jumper over Kyle Kuzma in the first quarter. Then, he popped two three-pointers to begin the second half, doubling his season total.
“I was stiff as hell when I hit those threes, man. I guess I prayed on them," he said.
Beyond John Wall and Bradley Beal, Morris is one of the Wizards' best options for creating his own shot. He can score in the post and stretch the floor with a decent three-point shot. He's also valuable on defense when committed, especially against stretch-fours, which have given the Wizards trouble in the past.
It might be a few weeks before Morris can handle 30-plus minutes and produce consistently. For now, he proved Thursday night he can still make a considerable impact.
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