Wizards Drop Preseason Opener as Tempers Flare

Referee Eric Lewis steps in between Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) and New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson after a verbal altercation in the second quarter of the Knicks' 124-121 preseason win at Capital One Arena in D.C. on Oct. 1. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)
Referee Eric Lewis steps in between Washington Wizards forward Markieff Morris (5) and New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson after a verbal altercation in the second quarter of the Knicks' 124-121 preseason win at Capital One Arena in D.C. on Oct. 1.

By William J. Ford

During the second quarter of the Washington Wizards’ preseason opener Monday against the New York Knicks, Wizards veteran power forward Markieff Morris and Knicks rookie Mitchell Robinson exchanged a few unpleasantries on the court.

After both received technical fouls, referee Eric Lewis ejected Morris from the game about eight seconds later.

The Wizards eventually lost 124-121 in overtime at Capital One Arena, but Morris had a few strong comments after the game on what led to the verbal altercation with Robinson.

He declined to say specifically what Robinson said to him, but “it was bad enough for me to do what I did went it had nothing to do with the play.”

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall drives to the basket past New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay in the first quarter of the Knicks' 124-121 preseason win at Capital One Arena in D.C. on Oct. 1. (John De Freitas/The Washington Informer)John De Freitas/The Washington Informer
Washington Wizards point guard John Wall drives to the basket past New York Knicks guard Emmanuel Mudiay in the first quarter of the Knicks’ 124-121 preseason win at Capital One Arena in D.C. on Oct. 1.

“He’s a stupid ass rookie,” Morris said. “Talking too much. Obviously, I didn’t like what he said. The refs overplayed it and they threw me out.

“I didn’t even know there was Mitchell on [the Knicks’] team,” he said. “I’m supposed to be the bigger person, but what he said crossed the line as a man and I wasn’t feeling it. Regardless of the situation, I was wrong for approaching it. It kind of happens like that sometimes.”

As for the game, the Wizards shot just 8-for-38 from the 3-point line. The Knicks attempted 29 3-pointers, but made 13. The Wizards committed 24 turnovers, but the team mostly played rookies and prospects during in the fourth quarter and the entire five-minute overtime session.

The officials may have been in preseason form as well, sending the two teams to the line for 90 free throws. Wizards backup guard Austin Rivers, who arrived this summer via trade, scored seven points, but committed five fouls.

Newly acquired Wizards center Dwight Howard sat with a sore back.

Besides the fouls and turnovers, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks expressed optimism with the flow of the game offensively. The team dished out 25 assists and scored 60 points in the paint.

“We definitely moved the ball offensively,” he said. “We got a lot of open threes. One of the things we stressed a lot is taking more threes. We took 38, but I forgot to mention we should make some of ours. That is what exhibition is here for. We have some practice time to try and get better before the first [regular season] game.”

The Wizards will play their second preseason game Friday, Oct. 5 against the Miami Heat in D.C.

First NBA Game

Wizards first-round draft pick Troy Brown Jr. entered the game late in the third quarter. He played slightly more than 20 minutes and scored the same number of points as fouls: four.
However, he did pull down seven rebounds. Brown also ran with the group in fourth quarter that Scott said “played NBA defense.”

“Even if I’m not scoring, defending and rebounding is something I know that can definitely impact the game,” he said. “Being able to … contribute in different ways.”

Jordan McRae, a guard who Washington signed last month as a two-player for the Wizards and its G League affiliate, Capitol City Go-Go, scored 14 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting in just 13 minutes.

Devin Robinson also contributed off the bench with nine points and four rebounds in 17 minutes of action.

This article originally appeared in the Washington Informer

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