Marcus Morris

Celtics Notes: One-And-Dones, Hayward, Morris

The Celtics may represent the best example of one-and-done collegiate players thriving at the NBA level, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes, citing the recent success of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum as the reasons why.

I’ve been real impressed with our last two guys who came from college, played one year,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “They were obviously ready for a lot of the demands of the NBA.”

Of course not every player that comes out of college early can step up for their team out of the gates, Blakely mentions former first overall pick and current Celtics G League affiliate player Anthony Bennett as one particularly notorious example.

There’s more Celtics news this afternoon:

  • Although an image circulated today of Gordon Hayward not wearing an ankle brace, the timeline for his recovery hasn’t changed, Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston says. Per president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, the organization is still of the mindset that Hayward will play next year.
  • Since his return from a knee injury last month, the Celtics have been cautious with Marcus Morris. Now, NBC Sports Boston’s A. Sherrod Blakely writes, his minute restriction has been lifted.
  • While he could have made more money by continuing to play in Europe, Celtics rookie Daniel Theis didn’t want to miss his opportunity to play in the NBA. Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald spoke with the forward about his decision to come over.

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Celtics, Crabbe, McConnell

Celtics forward Marcus Morris will be back in action today after missing eight games with a left knee injury, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN. The knee has been an issue all season, as soreness caused him to miss the first eight games of the season. Morris is excited about the holiday matchup against the Wizards and his twin brother Markieff. “This has to be history,” Marcus Morris said. “First twins to play on Christmas against each other.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics‘ heated rivalry with Washington may not be the same after Boston’s offseason roster shakeup, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The teams staged a contentious seven-game semifinal series in last year’s playoffs that seemed to cement a long-standing bitterness. But many of those Celtics are gone, Bulpett notes, and today’s game features not only a reunion of the Morris twins but a meeting of Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal, two St. Louis natives who frequently encourage each other on social media. “We never hated anybody,” said Marcus Smart, one of the Celtics’ holdovers from last season. “I don’t think nobody really hates anybody. As a competitor, you just want to go out there and do everything you can to win. This game is 80 percent mental, and if you can get under your opponent’s skin early, you did half the battle.”
  • Allen Crabbe hasn’t provided the 3-point shooting the Nets expected when they traded for him, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn acquired Crabbe from Portland this summer, finally securing a player the organization signed to a four-year, $83MM offer sheet in 2016. A career 42% shooter from long distance, Crabbe has dipped to 36% since joining the Nets. “It happens. For me the biggest focus is stop settling so much,” Crabbe said. “I know I said the ‘shooters shoot’ quote, and we do. But me trying to find easier ones as well would help the confidence.”
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown was thrilled by T.J. McConnell‘s 15-point performance in today’s win over the Knicks, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. The backup point guard, who has a $1.6MM team option for next season, has become a personal project for his coach. “He wears his heart on his sleeve,” Brown said. “I have a very antagonistic relationship with him. I coach him harder than I coach anybody. I’m so proud of him coming out of left field, being in the NBA, staying in the NBA and now playing in the NBA.”

Atlantic Notes: Porzingis, Morris, Okafor

Kristaps Porzingis missed his second straight game tonight when the Knicks traveled to Charlotte to take on the Hornets. Porzingis also missed Saturday night’s win over the Thunder in the return of former teammate Carmelo Anthony to the Big Apple. Porzingis has now missed six of the team’s first thirty games and while, as Marc Berman of the New York Post reports, Porzingis understands that it’s a long season, his frustration is growing.

“It’s frustration,’’ Porzingis said. “I want to be on the court as much as possible. Sometimes my head is hot and I want to play even though I shouldn’t play. They have to calm me down and make me think with my head. This [season] is a long-term thing. I want to be on the court as long as possible.”

Porzingis is expected to return to the Knicks lineup for Thursday’s game against Boston at Madison Square Garden.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • In other Porzingis news, Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal reports that the Knicks‘ star will continue to be represented by his brothers Janis and Martins after former agent Andy Miller relinquished his NBPA certification in the fallout from the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. Per Janis, “Now that Andy does not have his license anymore, not much is changing.”
  • Celtics forward Marcus Morris received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his sore left knee on Saturday, and head coach Brad Stevens says Morris is already feeling better, reports Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. But while the news is generally positive, Stevens added that Morris will return slowly. “He probably won’t play every game, or obviously back-to-back games,” Stevens said. “A game, three days off, a game. Try it that way, and then progressing back to every other day. He won’t play back-to-backs for a while.”
  • Brian Lewis of The New York Post is reporting that the Nets want newly-acquired big man Jahlil Okafor to get into better basketball shape before he takes the court again for the team. Okafor played almost as many minutes in his Nets’ debut (23) than he had all season (25). While there is no timetable for Okafor’s return to the line-up, there is a strategic plan in place for that eventuality, per head coach Kenny Atkinson. “We need to integrate him more into the system. It’s going to take some time. I’m not going to give you a date but it’s a strategic plan, just like we’ve done with all our guys, integrating guys into the team. It’s going to take some time.”

Atlantic Notes: Wright, Okafor, Whitehead

Nearly a month after dislocating his shoulder injury, Delon Wright will make his return to the Raptors lineup, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets. Wright last saw action on November 16.

Prior to the injury, Wright had been enjoying a solid season serving as a vital part of a Raptors second-unit that has yielded plenty of credit this season. While his absence was noticeable, third-string guard Fred VanVleet filled in admirably as the primary backup.

Wright, who had averaged 7.6 points and 2.6 assists in just over 20 minutes per game this season, is expected to be on somewhat of a minute restriction, Josh Lewenberg of TSN tweets.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Tonight is the night that recent Nets acquisitions Jahlil Okafor and Nik Stauskas make their debut, Michael Grange of Sportsnet tweets. The pair, he adds, are expected to get a “healthy dose of playing time” in their first Brooklyn appearance.
  • The Celtics will be without Marcus Morris for at least a week. Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tweets that the forward who has missed four of the past five games with a lingering knee injury isn’t expected to be back until, perhaps, December 23 or Christmas Day.
  • Second-year Nets guard Isaiah Whitehead has changed his representation, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal tweets. The point guard and former Andy Miller client will now be represented by Sam Permut of Roc Nation.
  • The Knicks have thrived without Carmelo Anthony on board but veteran guard Courtney Lee doesn’t think that his absence is why the team is winning. “If Melo was here, we would’ve made that adjustment with him,” he told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. “So you can’t just pinpoint it at him and say, ‘Well he left and we made these adjustments.’ The style of play was going to be different from last year regardless.

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Kanter, Morris

There’s no timetable for Jahlil Okafor to make his Nets debut. Head coach Kenny Atkinson is hoping to ease the big man’s transition to his new club. Alex Labidou of the Nets’ official site writes that the center appreciates the team’s patient approach to his situation.

[The Nets] know my weaknesses and strengths and I’m working with them every day to get better,” Okafor said. “They already told me what they want me to work on and like I said, I’m all in.

Okafor was acquired by the Nets on December 7, having played the first two seasons of his NBA career in Philadelphia.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division this evening:

  • Despite the fact that he’s barely over “40-50%”, Enes Kanter isn’t about to sit out any games for the Knicks if he doesn’t have to. The big man, who’s posted 13.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game in a widely acclaimed first few months in New York, told Fred Kerber of the New York Post that he knows all too well that every single game matters over the course of an NBA season.
  • The Raptors vowed to tweak their offense over the offseason and are already reaping the benefits. As James Herbert of CBS writes, the team has broken the bad habits that led to consistent playoff letdowns.
  • The Celtics have been without Marcus Morris for four of their past five contests, prompting president of basketball operations Danny Ainge to come up with a plan to help ease the offseason addition back into a consistent routine, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes.

Marcus Morris Likely Out For Extended Period

Celtics forward Marcus Morris is expected to miss extended time due to a left knee injury, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.

Morris played 25 minutes against the Spurs on Friday after missing the previous game against the Mavs but was sidelined for Boston’s back-to-back on Sunday and Monday. Morris’ debut with the Celtics was delayed by eight games due to left knee soreness and the issue has lingered even though coach Brad Stevens has been careful with Morris’ minutes.

Morris has not played more than 28 minutes in any of the 16 games he’s been able to take the court. He’s averaging 12.1 PPG and 5.5 RPG. Last season with Detroit, Morris started 79 games and averaged 14.0 PPG and 4.6 RPG. Stevens had said on Sunday that Morris would be re-evaluated when the team returns home on Tuesday, according to the team’s official Twitter feed.

Morris was acquired from the Pistons this summer in a deal that sent shooting guard Avery Bradley to Detroit, a move that helped to facilitate the signing of free agent forward Gordon Hayward.

With Morris out, rookie Jayson Tatum will continue to play major minutes. Rookie Semi Ojeleye and Euro import Daniel Theis will also see an uptick in playing time.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Russell, VanVleet, Hardaway

Despite being in the midst of a 15-game win streak, the Celtics aren’t satisfied, reports Marc D’Amico of and Chris Forsberg of ESPN. While arguably sporting the league’s best defense, head coach Brad Stevens doesn’t believe his team’s offense is where it needs to be. “We got a lot to improve on [offensively],” Stevens said.

The Celtics shot only 32.9% from the field in their win against the Warriors, and while they have leaned on a league-leading defense giving up a mere 95.4 points per 100 possessions, the C’s are currently 27th in the NBA in FG%. We haven’t played well enough to consider this win streak to be valid, in my opinion,” Stevens said. “We’ve figured out ways to win games (but) we’ve got to be better, and we know that.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • According to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston, one way the Celtics can create more offense is to play Marcus Morris more with the second unit. Morris scored 14 points in Saturday’s win against Atlanta.
  • The Nets are trying to remain positive and maintain a “next man up” mentality after losing D’Angelo Russell to a right knee injury for the foreseeable future, writes Anthony Puccio for The Nets also lost Jeremy Lin to a right knee injury after he suffered a ruptured patella tendon in the season opener, but head coach Kenny Atkinson is confident in the players being called on to step up. “We have a good group of wings, and guards,” said Atkinson. “I think we’ve developed sufficiently enough to withstand injuries.”
  • After going undrafted following a successful four-year college career at Wichita State, second-year guard Fred VanVleet is finding his niche with the Raptors as a fighter on the defensive end of the floor, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star“He’s a grinder, he’s a survivor, he’s a worker, he’s had to fight for everything he’s ever gotten in his life,” says head coach Dwane Casey. “He gets into the guys, he’s a little pitbull from that standpoint. He brings everything to the table that you need.”
  • Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek believes that Tim Hardaway Jr. is suffering from something similar to plantar fasciitis in his left foot, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Hardaway Jr., who removed himself from last week’s loss to Toronto and sat out of yesterday’s practice, plans to play through the pain in spite of the risk. “It could help if he rests,” Hornacek said. “But Tim wants to play. He’s a tough kid. He’s a competitor. He feels that he’s got enough for us that he can go.”

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, Nets, Miles

Despite losing two of their most notable defenders over the course of the offseason, the new-look Celtics boast an imposing defensive front thanks to returning defensive quarterback Al Horford and new addition Kyrie Irving, Chris Forsberg of ESPN writes.

In fact, if the NBA season were to end today, the Celtics would have the highest defensive rating (95.9) of any team since the 2004/05 Spurs. That’s a franchise improvement of 9.6 points over last season, a fact even more impressive when you consider that in addition to the new faces, the club also heavily features youth in their lineup, starting both 21-year-old Jaylen Brown and 19-year-old Jayson Tatum.

As Forsberg writes, the Celtics may have lost defensive skill over the summer but they gained length. By replacing Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder with Irving, Brown and Tatum, the club gained more than a foot in height.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • A profile on new Nets minority owner Joe Tsai reveals that the Alibaba co-founder’s favorite player is Jeremy Lin, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Tsai also praised second-year swingman Caris LeVert.
  • The Raptors haven’t relied heavily on C.J. Miles from beyond the arc but his presence on the perimeter has served as a decoy for the Raptors’ offense, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star writes. “He is a product of great spacing,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “He helps our spacing and that is one reason why the roll guy is so productive. They are hugged up on him [out beyond the arc], which is great, and to me that is just as good as C.J. knocking down a three or even getting an attempt.
  • While the plan was to keep Marcus Morris on a minute restriction following his return from a knee injury, injuries to other players have impacted that strategy. A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes that the newly acquired Celtics forward has been called upon to play 22-25 minutes but that they’ll see how his body responds on a game-by-game basis.

Atlantic Notes: Okafor, Morris, Crabbe, Russell

The Celtics remain interested in Sixers center Jahlil Okafor, but won’t give up a first-round pick to get him, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Boston views the third-year center as more of a project than an immediate contributor and is reluctant to part with a significant asset.

Okafor has been on the market for more than a year, but his fate became obvious when the Sixers decided this week not to pick up his option for 2018/19. Washburn contends Philadelphia has let Okafor’s market value slip by not playing him. He has appeared in just one game this season.

Washburn compliments Okafor for the way he has handled a difficult situation and says the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft has kept himself in good shape despite the lack of playing time. The Bucks, Cavaliers, Spurs and Nuggets also have interest in Okafor, according to Sam Amico of AmicoHoops, but so far no one is willing to meet the Sixers‘ asking price.

There’s more this morning from the Atlantic Division:

  • Marcus Morris made an immediate impact Friday in his first game for the Celtics, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. After being slowed by soreness in his left knee, Morris debuted with nine points and four rebounds in a win over the Thunder, and his defense on Carmelo Anthony helped Boston overcome a large deficit.
  • Allen Crabbe posted his best game since joining the Nets with 25 points Friday against the Lakers, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The fifth-year swingman was acquired from the Trail Blazers in a July trade to boost Brooklyn’s offense, but has started the season in a shooting slump, hitting just 15 of 43 from 3-point range before Friday night. “I think he’s finding his rhythm. He’s going to get better and better,” said coach Kenny Atkinson. “He was struggling because he missed a fair amount of time at training camp. I [don’t] think he was physically at his peak. You’ll see him get better as the season goes on.”
  • Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell has responded to comments from Lakers president Magic Johnson suggesting he wasn’t a leader during his time in Los Angeles, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN“I would say it ruffled a few feathers,” said Russell, who spent two seasons in L.A. after being the second pick in the 2015 draft. “But you control what you can control. He’s in a position to say what he wants, so I just try to do what I can do at the end of the day.”

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Porzingis, Holmes

The Celtics will get Marcus Morris back tonight, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston tweets. The 28-year-old forward will make his debut with the franchise after coming over from the Pistons in a trade last summer.

Expect Morris to come off the bench in his Celtics debut with a minute restriction of around 20, Blakely adds in a second tweet.

Last season Morris averaged 14.0 points in 32.5 minutes per game for the Pistons. This year he’ll look to provide toughness and veteran leadership to a Celtics team eager to prove that they’re deep enough across the board to win the Eastern Conference.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Leave it to former Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni to understand what current coach Jeff Hornacek is going through as the man on the sidelines under the New York media spotlight. “He’s been around the game forever,” D’Antoni told Al Iannazzone of Newsday. “But you do have to get through the noise. Whether you listen to it or not, I don’t know. Hopefully he doesn’t. The way the team is playing right now, it looks good . . . Just don’t respond and don’t listen to it and if you don’t, you can live a very happy life.
  • The Sixers have plenty of big men but that doesn’t mean head coach Brett Brown isn’t still excited about the return of Richaun Holmes, who has missed the first two weeks of the season with a wrist injury. The center will return to action tonight, Keith Pompey of The Inquirer writes. “His breakaway-like rim-to-rim speed in early offense is A-plus,” Brown said. “There is sort of tenacity and toughness. He wears his heart on his sleeve that I think adds to what we are trying to do anyways. But there’s just a bounce to Richaun Holmes that makes him different.
  • The emergence of Kristaps Porzingis has brought a familiar but rare buzz back to Madison Square Garden. Barbara Barker of Newsday wrote about the excitement that surrounds the Knicks now, for the first time since Linsanity in 2012.
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