Marcus Morris ready to put up fight vs. LeBron James and Cavs
Making his NBA Playoffs debut this spring, former Kansas star Marcus Morris isn’t going home without a fight.
A starting forward for Detroit, Morris came out firing in his first professional postseason game, scoring 20 points in a loss to the Eastern Conference’s top seed, Cleveland. And although Morris only managed 11 points in another Pistons loss Wednesday night, he made a statement of sorts by not backing down from one of the best players in league history.
By the time Cleveland secured a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, a clip of LeBron James from Game 2 started making the rounds on Twitter. James, holding his ribs after Morris banged into him down low during the fourth quarter, had some choice words for the Pistons forward.
According to social media lip-reading experts, James could be seen saying of Morris: “I’m gonna [expletive] that [expletive] up.”
Apparently the threat didn’t exactly frighten the 6-foot-9 forward from Philadelphia, who doesn’t mind embracing the old “Bad Boys” image of the late 1980s Pistons.
“I know for a fact he wasn’t talking to me,” Morris said in a report from the Detroit Free Press. “You can quote me on that.”
That wasn’t the only time King James took umbrage with Morris, either. At one point, James gave Morris a dirty look, apparently feeling disrespected by Morris’ decision to leave one of the NBA’s greatest players so open for a 3-pointer.
The eighth-seeded Pistons have a long way to go to turn this into a series, but if they find a way to win a game or two in Detroit don’t be surprised if Morris plays a key role in making that happen.
As ESPN’s NBA expert Zach Lowe said this week on his podcast: “Marcus Morris has been like a flaming volcano for about six weeks.”
That might be going a bit overboard, but Morris did put up some impressive numbers against playoff teams down the home stretch of the season, as Detroit secured the final available postseason berth in the East.
- March 6 vs. Portland: 19 points, 2-for-4 on 3’s
- March 9 at Dallas: 20 points, 7 rebounds, 2-for-3 on 3’s
- March 25 vs. Charlotte: 20 points, 7 rebounds, 3-for-7 on 3’s
- March 29 vs. Oklahoma City: 24 points, 7 rebounds
- April 1 vs. Dallas: 31 points, 12 rebounds, 6-for-8 on 3’s
Morris averaged 16.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in March, while connecting on 50.8% of his 3-pointers. In April regular-season games, he averaged 14.3 points and 6.5 rebounds while making 44.4% from downtown.
After exploding for 19 points in the first half of Game 1 against Cleveland, Morris has cooled off on offense, putting up just 12 total points in the past six quarters of the series. He shot 2-for-10 in Game 2, making just 1 of 5 from downtown.
The Pistons will need Morris to rediscover his scoring touch in the games ahead to keep Detroit alive.
Lucky for them, Morris has the type of personality to remain confident, play with fire and not back down from the NBA’s king. The series continues Friday and Sunday, in Detroit.
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