Gor­tat says he, Mor­ris are ‘Phoenix Out­laws’

The Washington Post Sunday - - HOCKEY - Ex­cerpted from wash­ing­ton­post.com/wizards — Can­dace Buck­ner

When he is not rolling to the paint, tap­ping back of­fen­sive re­bounds or earn­ing praise as one of the best screen­ers in the NBA, Wash­ing­ton Wizards cen­ter Marcin Gor­tat is com­ing up with new nick­names. He can’t help it. He al­ready calls him­self the “Pol­ish Ham­mer” and “Pol­ish Ma­chine,” but ap­par­ently that’s not enough.

Fol­low­ing the Wizards’ 112-107 win over the In­di­ana Pac­ers on Fri­day night, Gor­tat spoke to CSN’s Chris Miller and un­veiled a new moniker for him­self and team­mate Marki­eff Mor­ris.

“We are the Phoenix Out­laws right now,” Gor­tat said, us­ing his tried-and-true for­mula of her­itage/city + noun = moniker. “We are the Phoenix Out­laws, me and Keef.”

Gor­tat, who fin­ished with 14 points and 16 re­bounds against the Pac­ers, cre­ated a for­mi­da­ble front­court with Mor­ris, who scored a sea­son-high 26 points on 11-for-18 shoot­ing while pulling down 10 re­bounds. Be­fore tip-off, Pac­ers Coach Nate McMil­lan cred­ited Gor­tat as a screen­ing mae­stro; af­ter the game, McMil­lan spoke of Gor­tat’s phys­i­cal­ity in the paint against In­di­ana’s bigs. McMil­lan also de­scribed Mor­ris as hav­ing a “solid game.”

So on such a night when both were rolling, Gor­tat de­cided to troll his past.

Gor­tat played two-plus sea­sons in Phoenix be­fore he and the team reached an im­passe on a con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tion. Be­fore the 2013-14 sea­son, the Suns shipped Gor­tat to Wash­ing­ton. Then last Fe­bru­ary, the Suns jet­ti­soned Mor­ris, who had lost trust in the fran­chise af­ter it traded his twin brother, Mar­cus.

This his­tory re­mains on Gor­tat’s mind. When you give him a mi­cro­phone — or a Twit­ter app — he will find an op­por­tu­nity to zing his for­mer em­ployer.

When asked by a re­porter what he saw in Mor­ris’s per­for­mance against the Pac­ers, Gor­tat sub­tly made ref­er­ence to the Suns.

“I see a guy with in­cred­i­ble tal­ent, with [a] very good work ethic,” Gor­tat said. “He’s a great, great team­mate. A guy who has been called one time a can­cer, a team can­cer. And I would love to have a team can­cer like that any day in a game with me. He came here, and he’s tak­ing us to the play­offs right now.”

Though Go­rat might be all-in with the whole Phoenix Out­laws thing, he hasn’t ex­actly sold his fel­low out­law on the new nick­name.

“Yeah, he said it about three times, but I ain’t rolling with it,” Mor­ris said. “I don’t want to give Phoenix no credit. I’ll fig­ure out a bet­ter nick­name than that.”

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