Marcus Morris is back in the NBA and with the Houston Rockets after a stint with the D-League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
That’s the good news for the rookie, who averaged 22.8 points and 9.1 rebounds in 10 full games with the Vipers.
But a return to the big leagues doesn’t necessarily mean Marcus will get playing time. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle explains:
Morris joins the team with Kevin McHale already struggling to keep Chase Budinger in the rotation. Budinger did not play at all on Friday or in the second half on Sunday.
Starter Chandler Parsons has been dealing with a sore ankle, but played 27 minutes, shutting down Jazz forward Gordon Hayward and helping the Rockets’ overall improvement defensively. Assuming he can carry his usual load, there is little time available at small forward with Luis Scola and Patrick Patterson sharing the time at power forward.
And, though he was available, Marcus did not play (coach’s decision) against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night. The Rockets won, 97-93 (game stats here).
Houston coach Kevin McHale told reporters before the game that the Rockets would like to have Marcus available in case any other bigs go down (reserve center Jordan Williams is already out for some time).
Feigen also points out that timing might have something to do with the call-up. The All-Star break starts on Friday, and the Vipers play just one more time before March. Better to have the rookie twiddle his thumbs in Houston than the D-League.
Marcus, for his part, said he’s just glad to be back with the Rockets:
"It means a lot, happy to be back, happy to be back with my team and just ready to move forward.”
"It's real special. I'm just ready to get to work."
Aldrich promptly threw the ball away when he tried to start a fast break the opposite direction.
(Starting center Kendrick) Perkins later threw the ball away while trying to do the same.
"I think we'll keep with Russell (at point guard)," Aldrich said with a smile. "We all saw (what happened) when all our big guys tried to play point today."
After the game, Royce Young of DailyThunder.com wrote:
Cole Aldrich saw 18 minutes and again, it was some good, some bad and some meh. His line doesn’t do much for you — four points, three rebounds, two blocks — but he was certainly active on the glass and challenged pretty much everything in the paint.
Aldrich on where he’s at: “I feel real comfortable. I know what my job is and I just try my hardest to do a good job out there. Rebound, set screens, make an easy bucket here or there. Just to do the little things and bring a lot of energy to our team.”
More and more, it’s becoming clear that it’s time to play the kid. (Thunder coach Scott) Brooks seems to know it, too. He addressed it tonight without even being asked. “Cole hasn’t played a lot. He’s done everything that we’ve asked for two years, but we’re on a nice roll and our four bigs are (a hard rotation) to crack. But he’s done a good job of coming in; I thought tonight’s minutes, early in the game, he was protecting (the rim), he was running, he was setting screens. Those are the things that we need him to do and he’s done them well.”
Henry was doing what he needed to tonight. Yeah, he missed a few shots, but he was attacking like crazy, getting free throws, and playing good denial defense.
Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) hit 7 of 13 shots and 5 of 7 free throws for 20 points against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. Pierce added four rebounds, two assists and four steals in 33 minutes, but it wasn’t enough as the Mavs won easily, 89-73. He also had five turnovers in the Celtics’ sixth loss in seven games (full stats here).
Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns) scored six points with five rebounds in a 104-88 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday. Markieff hit just 2 of 8 shots and missed both of his three-point attempts in 25 minutes on the court (full stats here). He also drew at least two charges and would have had a block, but was called for a goaltend.
Brandon Rush (Golden State Warriors) played all 12 fourth-quarter minutes and hit the go-ahead three-pointer with two minutes left in a 104-97 win against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. Rush’s seven points (2-for-5 overall, 1-for-3 threes, 2-for-3 free throws) and his one block all came in the fourth quarter. He played 20 minutes total (full stats here).
Nick Collison (Oklahoma City Thunder) did not play (left quad contusion) against the New Orleans Hornets on Monday. The Thunder won without him, 101-93 (game stats here).
Drew Gooden (Milwaukee Bucks) did not play (right wrist sprain) for the third straight game on Monday as the Bucks lost to the Orlando Magic, 93-90 (game stats here).
6 p.m., Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets vs. the Indiana Pacers
6:30 p.m., NBA TV, Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat vs. the Sacramento Kings
6 p.m., Xavier Henry and the New Orleans Hornets vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers
6 p.m., ESPN, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics vs. Nick Collison (quad injury), Cole Aldrich and the Oklahoma City Thunder
6:30 p.m., Kirk Hinrich and the Atlanta Hawks vs. the New York Knicks
7 p.m., Drew Gooden (wrist injury) and the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Chicago Bulls
7 p.m., Marcus Morris and the Houston Rockets vs. the Philadelphia 76ers
8 p.m., Brandon Rush and the Golden State Warriors vs. Markieff Morris and the Phoenix Suns