- The Washington Times - Friday, December 1, 2017

Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy was not happy with his squad after the game.

“They tried really, really hard and we didn’t try at all,” Van Gundy said. “I mean, we got out-worked [and] out-efforted. A really disappointing and embarrassing night for us. We just didn’t bring anything in the second half at either end. We played with no energy on the offensive end, they got into us. Hell, in the first three minutes we only had one shot hit the rim. I mean, we couldn’t make a pass [and] it wasn’t deflected. We brought nothing to the table at all, 17-to-nothing run. Then we got it back to eight a couple times but that was it. We got dominated in the second half. We brought nothing to the game. It was an embarrassing effort on our part.”

The outcome was a 109-91 Wizards victory against a previously surging Pistons team. Three points from the evening:

Sato-mania. Scott Brooks has a decision to make when John Wall returns. Tomas Satoransky’s last four games have shown that, if he is used as a point guard, he has established himself as a rotation player. Friday night was Satoransky’s best NBA game. He scored a career-high 17 points. He also added four assists to push his assist-to-turnover ration to 22-0 in the four games since Wall has been out with a left knee problem. Satoransky even made two 3-pointers Friday, including a corner three that he was prepared to shoot before the ball arrived. That may have been the best representation of the confidence he played with throughout the game. He said afterward that spending a year learning the tendencies of of opposition — plus what Brooks wants — has helped him carry a stronger self-belief about what he could do this season. “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,” Satoransky said. “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.”

Satoransky was out of the rotation before Wall’s knee injury. As for his chances to play when Wall comes back?

“The thing that I’ve told the team and our staff, is, one, we’re not a better team without John,” Brooks said. “But, we can be a better team when John comes back. By doing that is by not putting your head down, feeling sorry for yourself that one of the best players in the game is out….This is all new to all of us…When John comes back, hopefully guys are confident that we can do a lot of good things. Then, I have to make the tough decisions. Who plays, who doesn’t play. Maybe they both play. Maybe they matchup game-to-game. But, Tomas is definitely showing he is a good player in this league.”

Third quarter. Brooks had a simple summation of the 35-15 third quarter. “Our best quarter of the season,” he said. Washington opened it with a 17-0 run to establish an 11-point lead after trailing by six points at the half. One thing Brooks did not do in that quarter is roll out another lineup without a point guard. He has experimented with such an arrangement since Wall stopped playing Nov. 25. When he used a no-point guard lineup in Friday’s second quarter, the Wizards’ seven-point lead turned into a seven-point deficit. The turnaround was anchored in Bradley Beal’s problems as the de facto point guard while being guarded by Avery Bradley, arguably the best on-ball defender in the league. Beal’s fifth turnover of the first half led to Bradley’s floater and a Wizards timeout. Two possessions prior, Bradley came up with a straight rip of Beal’s dribble out top. Beal finished with seven turnovers on a night that he was hounded by Bradley and irritated by the goggles he temporarily wore to protect his swollen right eye. Beal discarded those late in the second quarter in part because they slipped, in part because they felt weird and in part because of their color. He, and the rest of the Wizards, functioned at a much higher level with a point guard on the floor throughout the dominant third quarter.

More Morris. Markieff Morris has not been himself since returning from offseason hernia surgery. Friday was his 15th game of the season, and his prior two were poor. Morris was 4-for-15 from the field, but it was lack of activity that had Brooks more concerned. Coming into the game, 92 of Morris’ 121 shots this season had been jump shots. Of those, 41 were 3-pointers (33.9 percent). Morris watched film with Brooks on Friday morning, then explained postgame Friday night that he had been playing 3-point line to 3-point line. He needed to be more aggressive. Against Detroit, he was around the rim more often, despite still not feeling quite right since his stalled offseason that included a trial, not working out because of a severe ankle sprain in the playoffs and the sports hernia surgery. “It’s about time I had a good game. I have to keep pressing forward and be more aggressive,” Morris said.

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