Morris and Satoransky Help the Wizards Defeat The Pistons | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Morris and Satoransky Help the Wizards Defeat The Pistons

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Updated: December 2, 2017

https://twitter.com/WashWizards/status/936783069360427008

Prior to last night’s game against the Detroit Pistons, Wizards Coach Scott Brooks mentioned both Markieff Morris and Tomas Satoransky in his pregame presser.  His comments about Morris were as close as Brooks will ever come to publicly criticizing his players, while he had nothing but complimentary words for Satoransky.

Brooks began by saying that Morris “had not played as well as I know he’s going to play” and then he made reference to a one-on-one film session between the two. Coach Brooks mentioned he was able to point out the part of Morris’s games that he could take advantage of, but he also mentioned that the two also discussed non-basketball related issues as well, so he could get a better feel of Morris on and off the court.

When Brooks spoke of Satoransky, he complimented his understanding of how NBA players guarded him as well as his ability to play confident, relaxed basketball–particularly in the Wizards’ last three games when he averaged 56.2% (9-of-16), 18 assists, ZERO turnovers, plus/minus +38 in 66 minutes (h/t @benstandig).

Coach Brooks wouldn’t get into specific detail about what he said to Morris, but he really didn’t have to, because the results were strewn all over the scoreboard (although Brooks joked after the game, he could not take credit for Morris’s inspired play). Morris shot 3-of-4 and scored seven points in the first quarter, and he, along with Otto Porter (who also scored seven points), helped the Wizards get off to a fast start on the offensive end of the floor (52% from the field and 26 points).

Unfortunately Morris and the rest of his teammates weren’t as diligent on defense as they were on offense, and the Pistons also scored 26 points, tying the game after one quarter. Enter Satoransky and the Wizards bench.

Mike Scott kicked the scoring off with a finger roll, and Pistons forward Anthony Tolliver countered with a three-pointer to put the Pistons up 3.  Then Satoransky drew a foul and hit both free throws, then he found Jodie Meeks for a 3-pointer to put the Wizards up by 2. Satoransky didn’t score or assist on another point in the second quarter, but he did John Wall-ish things to keep the offense running with a high degree of fluidity. He pushed the pace, he swung the ball when necessary, and he even crashed the boards. Five minutes later, the Wizards went from being tied, to leading by seven points, and it looked like the bench was going to create even more separation from the Pistons.

But for whatever reason, Coach Brooks did not allow the bench to capitalize on the momentum they had built. First he subbed in Beal for Satoranksy, then Otto Porter for Mike Scott. The Wizards offense slowed, their defense was nowhere near as stingy, and in 1:07 of game play, the Wizards seven-point lead turned into a 38-38 tie.

After a Wizards timeout, Coach Brooks subbed in Gortat and Morris, but he opted to keep the point guard duo of Frazier and Satoransky on the bench, and the results were costly.  The Wizards offense lacked a quarterback to keep the ball moving (or popping as former Wizard Mike Miller used to say) and the result was a predictable brand of one-on-one basketball. And to make matters worse, ball hawk Avery Bradley was a one-man wrecking crew and stole the ball from Beal, which lead to a Pistons basket that put them up by seven points–a 14-point turnaround.

The Pistons went into halftime up 52-46, and it looked like Coach Brooks’ mismanaged substitution patterns had cost his team the momentum.

But in the third quarter, after a spirited halftime speech where Coach Brooks implored his team to be more physical on both ends of the floor, the Wizards starters reverted to their first quarter form, and Morris and Porter led the way once again.

Porter scored eight points with four assists and Morris scored seven points on 3-of-5 shooting, but unlike the first quarter when the prolific scoring by Morris, Porter and their teammates was nullified by substandard defensive play, the Wizards heeded their coach’s defensive rallying cry and shut the Pistons down. And Morris was at the forefront.

Markieff not only held Tobias Harris–who came into the game averaging a career-high 19 points per game and was, per Coach Brooks, playing at an All-Star level — scoreless in the third quarter, but he blocked consecutive shots from Andre Drummond, which led to a Wizards basket. When Morris checked out of the game with 3:17 left in the third quarter, the Wizards led by 10 points, and it looked like they were in control. Satoransky and his bench crew entered the game to make sure it stayed that way.

Satoransky scored four of the Wizards’ eight points in the last three minutes of the third quarter to stretch the lead from 10 to 14 points. But in the fourth quarter, Satoransky skillfully straddled that line between point and shooting guard.

He kept the ball popping and he continued to push the pace and keep the offense fluid. Satoransky also aggressively looked for his shot and it was falling. He scored 11 points to go with two assists and his play kept the Pistons from getting closer than 11 points in the fourth quarter. When asked about his prolific night after the game, Satoransky attributed his strong play to confidence baby, confidence:

 “I think for the first time I really played with a lot of confidence tonight. I think I had some options to score easy buckets. Everything felt easier, but finally scoring more than one three-pointer. I’ve been working on it very hard.  I think I didn’t try to force anything, like I said, let the game come to me. In the last quarter, I felt very confident.”

Coach Brooks started re-inserting starters back into the game as the fourth quarter progressed, but this time, instead of rolling out the point guard-less lineup as he had done in the second quarter, he kept Satoransky in the game with some of the starters–including Morris. Together, they put the game out of reach.

Morris re-entered the game at the 5:25 mark of the fourth quarter, and a minute later, Satoransky found him for an open 16-footer to put the Wizards up 14 points. Twenty-seven seconds later, Satoransky hit a 3-point shot to stretch the lead to 14 points and on the other end of the floor he stole the ball from Reggie Jackson, which eventually led to a cutting layup by Morris, which took the Wizards’ lead from 14 to 16 points–effectively ending any realistic chance of a Pistons victory.

John Wall was out with a knee, and Bradley Beal, who began with goggles and eventually ripped them off, had seven turnovers and 10 points on just 4-of-11 shooting. The Wizards needed reliable offense from alternative sources and Morris (23 points on 10-of-16 shooting with seven rebounds) and Satoransky (17 points on 5-of-6 shooting with four assists and four rebounds) stepped up their games in timely fashion.

After the game, both players expressed their happiness for both team and individual success:

“I think I was just able to build confidence up throughout those games. We were playing good as a second unit, and I think that’s something that gives you the confidence when you’re playing your position. I think trying to let the game come to me. Like I said, since I’m playing with confidence and playing good, it’s much easier for me.” – Tomas Satoransky

“It’s about time I had a good game. I have to keep pressing forward and be more aggressive.” – Markieff Morris

The Wizards are about to embark on a five-game road trip starting on Monday against the Utah Jazz.  Bradley Beal will probably figure out how to be himself again with or without the goggles, but if the law firm of Morris and Satoransky continue to elevate their play, it will go a long way towards helping the Wizards navigate these John Wall-less waters.

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Rashad Mobley
Reporter/Writer at TAI
Rashad has been covering the NBA and the Washington Wizards since 2008—his first two years were spent at Hoops Addict before moving to Truth About It. Rashad has appeared on ESPN and college radio, SportsTalk on NewsChannel 8 in Washington D.C., and his articles have appeared on ESPN TrueHoop, USAToday.com, Complex Magazine, and the DCist. He considers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a hero and he had the pleasure of interviewing him back in 2009.