It took Marcus Morris a while to mesh with the Celtics. For starters, he missed roughly the first two weeks of the regular season, because he was on trial for assault. Then he struggled to mesh with Brad Stevens’ ball movement-heavy offense, further stagnating a slow bench unit. It looked like the Morris acquisition was one of general manager Danny Ainge’s rare misses.
But that perception has changed. Morris has been one of the Celtics’ best performers during their miraculous six-game win streak, in which they’ve defeated the Thunder, Blazers and No.1 seed Raptors without Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart and useful big man Daniel Theis.
Morris’ season highlight came March 20 against the Thunder, when he dropped 21 points and nailed the game-winning three-pointer to lead Boston to the improbable win. The forward followed that up with a 30-point effort against the Blazers and 20-point output when the Celtics defeated the Suns. Then on Saturday night against the Raptors, Morris chipped in with 25 points in nearly 35 minutes off the bench, giving the Celtics a plus-12 advantage when he was subbed in for Aron Baynes.
When Morris was ejected in the game’s final minutes for jawing at Raptors forward Serge Ibaka, the Garden faithful showered him with a standing ovation.
“When I first got here people knew who I was,” Morris told reporters after the game, per Mass Live. “So it’s not different. I think they’re just starting to love me more. I think they liked me, but now they’re starting to love me, so I appreciate that.”
Marcus Morris gets tossed.
Marcus Morris gives the ref a very firm pat on the backside. — pic.twitter.com/yoz1KXXeI2
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 1, 2018
The Celtics swapped fan favorite Avery Bradley for Morris last summer, due to salary cap reasons. Bradley played relatively well in Detroit –– he averaged 15 points per contest –– but the Pistons shipped him to the Clippers in February for Blake Griffin. The veteran guard has been out since late February with a sports hernia, only playing six games in Los Angeles under old head coach Doc Rivers.
Stevens deserves the bulk of the credit for his success with a lineup that featured Morris, Semi Ojeleye, Kadeem Allen, Greg Monroe, and Abdel Nader Saturday. But once again, Ainge found pieces that work, no matter how obscure.
Given the Celtics’ injury predicament, Morris will likely play a big role for them in the playoffs. It looks like Ainge pulled off another winner.
Full article @ After rough start, Marcus Morris turning into another winner for Danny Ainge
Source: GreenStreet Blog