MIAMI — Just over five minutes separated Markieff Morris from potentially matching his season high in minutes and completing another productive performance as a scorer when his frustration boiled over the edge Wednesday.
In a tightly-contested fourth quarter between the Washington Wizards and the Miami Heat, Morris picked up his sixth foul but did not go quietly to the bench. Morris had words for official Scott Foster and drew his second technical foul of the quarter and was ejected from the game. Although Morris lost his cool, the Wizards maintained theirs. Washington overcame a seven-point deficit early in the fourth quarter and pulled away for the 102-93 victory.
Morris finished with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting — the third time in four games in which he has shot at least 50 percent — and logged 22 minutes. However, Morris regretted the most glaring statistic: his first ejection of the season.
“I know the referees have a tough job every night,” Morris said. “It was the blatant calls that I feel like were the ones I got mad about. I said some things I shouldn’t have said and I should have acted better than what I did. I’ve got my family at home watching and you know, it’s not a great thing to act like a [jerk] on TV. I get into the game … I’m locked in and sometimes it takes over.”
Morris, who still deals with nagging pain from a sprained ankle suffered last May, missed the first seven games of the season while recovering from surgery to repair his abdominal wall and still believes his explosiveness is a work in progress.
“I’m moving and am feeling a lot more agile than what I was,” Morris said. “But just getting off the floor, I don’t feel it yet.”
However, Morris hasn’t needed athleticism for his jump shot, and on Wednesday, he went 2 for 4 from three-point territory. Over the last five games, Morris has made 44 percent from three.
“You don’t lose your game,” Morris replied, when asked how he has been able to shoot well without much lift. “I’m getting a little bit more touches and I’m catching and shooting for the most part. I’ve been shooting my whole life, so I’m not going to lose that.”
Through his return to the Wizards’ starting five, Coach Scott Brooks has often praised Morris for maintaining his offensive chops despite needing six weeks to recover from surgery. But Brooks wanted more poise out of Morris on Wednesday. The technical fouls awarded the Heat free throws and essentially gave two points away in the fourth quarter.
“It’s a bang-bang play, it could’ve gone either way,” Brooks said of Morris’s offensive foul that led to his disqualification then ejection. “You have to keep your emotions in check. You got a ‘T’ a couple possessions before that.
“I mean, you’ve got to keep your emotions in check,” Brooks repeated. “This game, the way it was going, it was going to go down to the last couple minutes of the game. So a point here, a point there. He’s going to be better.”
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