AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — After experiencing the joy that comes with hitting the game-winning shot, Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris had to get something off his chest.
On Saturday night, Morris tipped in a missed shot to beat the buzzer — and Washington, 113-112 — doing so while jumping for the offensive rebound over his identical twin brother, Wizards forward Markieff Morris.
Marcus Morris celebrated with teammates, but once officials reviewed the play and confirmed the shot was good, he found Markieff and confessed.
Marcus had fouled his brother.
“I grabbed him,” he said, laughing. “I had my hand on his shoulder, and I got him back because he blocked my shot on the play before. I knew that was him, and you can’t make that call at the end of the game. It is what it is.”
The closing minutes featured a healthy heaping of sibling rivalry. In the final minute of the game, Markieff swatted Marcus’s shot. Earlier, after the Wizards erased a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Markieff gave his team the lead by finishing an alley-oop pass from John Wall with 2:14 remaining.
But in the locker room after the loss, Markieff Morris remained fixated on the crucial final sequence.
“He got a good tip at the end of the game,” Markieff said of his brother. “I should’ve boxed out better.”
Although Markieff did not bring up how Marcus might have committed an offensive foul, Wizards Coach Scott Brooks alluded to the mosh pit underneath the rim.
“The only tough part is they had two guys in there. ’Kieff . . . couldn’t get off the ground,” said Brooks, who did not have center Marcin Gortat on the floor through the entire fourth quarter. “He’s sandwiched in between two guys, and then his brother made a big tip.”
Marcus Morris had game highs with 25 points and 11 rebounds, outdueling his brother, who had 19 and nine.
The last time the Wizards (23-20) had walked off the floor of The Palace of Auburn Hills, their season was essentially done. In an early-April matchup, the Wizards were eliminated from playoff contention after a loss here. This defeat wasn’t as costly, but it stung nonetheless, ending a four-game winning streak.
Wall had 19 points and 10 assists, and Bradley Beal continued to struggle finding his shot, going 4 for 15 from the field overall and missing all seven attempts from beyond the three-point arc. Over the past three games, Beal has missed 19 straight three-point tries, the longest such dry spell of his career.
Save for the opening minutes when Washington scored the game’s first nine points, the first half belonged to Detroit.
Gortat heavily influenced the early run — hitting a hook shot over Pistons center Andre Drummond and then setting high screens to clear space for Beal and Wall to go to work. Then Gortat tapped back a miss to set up an open three-point look for Markieff Morris at the top of the key, and the Wizards led 9-0 at the 9:44 mark.
After those productive early possessions, the Wizards couldn’t make shots. They finished just 9 for 23 from the field in the first quarter while the Pistons recovered from the deficit and built a four-point lead on the strength of their three-point shooting (4 for 8).
Detroit made just enough threes at crucial times to finish with six for the first half, and Washington couldn’t counter. Otto Porter Jr. and Beal were non-factors: The pair combined to make just 8 of 28 attempts from the field for the game.
Against Memphis, Beal connected on just 1 of 7 looks from the arc. Then, Thursday night in New York, Beal could not locate the rim inside Madison Square Garden (0 for 7).
Through the third quarter, Beal shied away from the perimeter. At times, he ran off the arc or passed the ball. When he did spot an open look too good to pass up, he wasn’t rewarded. Within the final minute of the third, Beal missed another deep look, and on the other end Marcus Morris knocked down his third three-pointer. Moments later, Ish Smith absorbed a foul and hit one free throw to build Detroit’s largest lead, at 16 points.
The Wizards rallied and seemed poised to complete their comeback. But with Detroit down one with the ball, the final possession appeared to falter after Beal blocked Tobias Harris’s first three-point attempt, but Harris recovered in time to put up a second. Detroit’s Morris tipped in the miss, ending the rally — and the Wizards’ winning streak — as the buzzer sounded.