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Morris battles foul trouble to put in one of his best games for Wizards

Morris battles foul trouble to put in one of his best games for Wizards

Markieff Morris put in a box score line on Tuesday night that you just don't see very often. He fouled out in just 21 minutes, yet scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting - including 3-for-3 from three - and grabbed three steals.

No NBA player has had that many points and steals in a game they fouled out after playing less than 22 minutes since at least the 1983-84 season, as far as Basketball Reference's play index can go back. Part of the reason why that is the case, is that usually when a player gets in early foul trouble, as Morris did, they play more cautiously. They dial back their aggression on offense in fear of getting whistled for an offensive foul.

That's what usually happens. Not for Kief, apparently.

"When you have fouls like that, sometimes you are tentative to attack the basket. But he attacked the basket and got to the rim," coach Scott Brooks said. "That's what I like about Kief from night to night. He had foul trouble it seemed right from the jumpball. Right after they threw it up, he was battling foul trouble. But he kept playing aggressive."

Morris picked up his first foul just 1:23 into the first quarter. His sixth and final foul came with 3:58 left in the fourth, right after he hit a pair of three-pointers, and right after he had a big putback slam on a fastbreak to help the Wizards complete their comeback. They stormed back from 18 points down to secure their ninth victory this season after trailing by double digits.

"I can't get anymore techs. So, there was nothing I could do," Morris said of his fouls. "But when I was on the bench I told coach to put me back in the game."

Morris has now scored 15 points or more in three straight games and has reached double digits in his last nine. His three three-pointers matched a career-high.

"He did a really good job of just staying aggressive and not worrying about his fouls. The game rewarded him at the end," guard Bradley Beal said.

With the win, the Wizards moved to 19-18, above the .500 mark for the first time since Nov. 24, 2015. That was a short-term goal for the team, but a milestone for Morris, who joined Washington in a trade last February.

"It was a real big win to be over .500. We haven't been over .500 since I got here actually, so it just feels good," Morris said.

[RELATED: Wall to Bulls' Valentine after dance: 'You woke a monster']

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Kevin Durant says he won't visit the White House with NBA-champion Warriors because of Donald Trump

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USA Today Sports

Kevin Durant says he won't visit the White House with NBA-champion Warriors because of Donald Trump

The Golden State Warriors have still yet to receive a formal invite from President Donald Trump to visit the White House as 2017 NBA champions, but if they do make the trip, D.C.'s own Kevin Durant will not be with them.

The Warriors All-Star told ESPN on Thursday he will not accept an invitation from Trump due to his policies and reaction to the recent events in Charlottesville.

"Nah, I won't do that," Durant told ESPN. "I don't respect who's in office right now."

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that... And what's going on in Charlottesville, that was unfathomable."

Durant and the Warriors travel to Washington to play the Wizards on Feb. 28 at Capital One Arena. That could be the time they choose to visit the White House. It will be interesting to see which of his teammates show up.

[RELATED: LeBron reacts to election, not sure if he'll visit White House to see Trump]

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Wizards' Markieff Morris to be a father soon with training camp right around the corner

Wizards' Markieff Morris to be a father soon with training camp right around the corner

Wizards forward Markieff Morris has a lot to look forward to next month besides the start of 2017-18 training camp in Richmond. Morris and his girlfriend are expecting a baby daughter, their first child, with a due date of Sept. 6. Morris has some time, but it will certainly require an adjustment.

Morris feels ready for the challenge.

"It’s just real chill right now. I try to keep her off her feet as much as possible and try to stay by her side," he said. "I'm getting ready for the kid and staying up all night... I'm a laid back-type of guy. I know she’s going to be chill and laid back like me. It can’t be too much."

Morris has been spending much of his offseason back home in Philadelphia along with his twin brother Marcus. They have been training for the new season, a regiment that has included boxing at a local gym. In Philly he recently held his second annual basketball camp and sixth annual backback giveaway.

[RELATED: PODCAST - Morris on Celtics rivalry, NBA video games preview]

Morris was in D.C. over the weekend for another backback drive, his second annual giveaway in Southeast Washington. Morris arrived at the Ridge Road Community Center and exited a black Range Rover with fellow NBA player Thomas Robinson to a long line of kids and their parents. Inside were tables and tables of backpacks for all ages and both boys and girls. Morris, Robinson and Morris' family members each wore shirts and hats that read F.O.E. (Family Over Everything).

That's a fitting motto for what Morris was trying to accomplish with his charity venture.

"This is like a home to me. My mom is from here. My entire family is from the D.C. area. So, once I got here I knew right away that I had to get in the community," he said. "I just want to give back to the kids. They’re the future. I’m making sure they know that anything is possible. The city needs stuff like this, guys giving back and coming to the city.

"What we try to do is to try to do everything from the inside. We don’t look for sponsors, we aren’t looking for people to broadcast it. We do it on our own. My mom and my uncle actually run the whole thing. Everyone here running the camp is from the community here at the rec center or my family. We just try to keep it that way. We really don’t even want cameras here. We just do it for the kids and the community."

[RELATED: Morris sees Irving's situation with Cavs as 'unfortunate']

Morris, 27, recalls going to Rasheed Wallace's basketball camp when he was a kid. He knows firsthand how meeting an NBA player can inspire a child with basketball dreams.

"I always remember it. I was at Rasheed Wallace’s camp. I think I was about 10 or 11 and I got to interact with him. That’s something that will stick with kids forever. They will never forget that when they get older," he said.

Morris has a lot on his mind these days, but he is heavily focused on getting back to work with the Wizards. He said their Game 7 loss to the Celtics still bothers him and that "I still feel like we're the better team." He thinks "every game is going to be like Game 7" against the Celtics, who now have his brother Marcus on their roster, this upcoming season.

As for what Morris hopes to improve on himself, he's got a few areas in mind.

"Just keep improving on the 3-point shot, scoring more and staying more consistent. I was a little up-and-down this year, but it’s a long season. You have to forget about the 20 games before and just be more consistent. Rebound the ball more and get a little bit more edge on my bones and muscles. I’m a pretty stiff-type guy, so I’ve gotta figure out how to get loose," he said.

[RELATED: Keef and Dolph: an odd couple friendship within the Wizards' organization]

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