Markieff Morris

Heat’s Butler, Herro Available For Game 1

Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and several other Heat players who were listed as questionable for Game 1 of the second-round series against the Sixers are available to play, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald tweets.

Butler missed the Game 5 clincher against the Hawks due to knee inflammation after averaging 30.5 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 5.3 APG in the first four games. Herro (illness), Max Strus (hamstring), P.J. Tucker (calf), Caleb Martin (ankle) and Markieff Morris (illness) were also listed as questionable on Sunday but are now expected to suit up.

Officially, these players are listed as “warming up with intention to play,” Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel tweets.

Starting point guard Kyle Lowry will miss his third straight game due to a hamstring strain.

Markieff Morris Fined $25K For Violating League Rules

The NBA, which has doled out a number of fines during this postseason, added Markieff Morris to that list on Thursday.

The Heat forward has been docked $25K for interfering with live game play while on the bench, in violation of league rules, according to a press release. Morris’ infraction occurred during Game 5, when Miami closed out its series against Atlanta.

Morris, who was not in the game at the time, grabbed and held Hawks guard De’Andre Hunter out of bounds, which prevented Hunter from completely reestablishing himself inbounds as he caught a pass from a teammate. Morris received an unsportsmanlike technical foul for his actions, which occurred during the third quarter.

Earlier in the day, the league fined Jimmy Butler and the Heat organization $15K apiece. Butler made an obscene gesture, which the Heat posted on social media.

Morris was fined $50K for a dust-up with Denver’s Nikola Jokic in November.

Heat Notes: Butler, Herro, Morris, Oladipo

Jimmy Butler‘s 45-point outburst on Tuesday in Game 2 of the Heat‘s series vs. Atlanta was reminiscent of the big performances he turned in during Miami’s 2020 run to the NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble. However, Butler said after the game that he’s a different player now than he was then, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I’m not as ball-dominant as I was in the bubble,” Butler said. “We got a point guard, and that’s Kyle (Lowry), and I love him being a point guard. I just get to go out there and try to score. And if I can’t score, pass the ball. We’re a different team; I’m a different player.”

While Butler may feel as if he has changed as a player since two years ago, the Heat will welcome more playoff outings that resemble what he did in 2020, as opposed to a repeat of 2021, when he averaged 14.5 PPG on 29.7% shooting in a four-game sweep at the hands of Milwaukee.

As Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald writes, the more games Butler has like Tuesday’s, the better the Heat’s decision to sign him to a new long-term, maximum-salary contract extension last offseason will look. That deal is expected to pay Butler a salary exceeding $50MM in 2025/26, his age-36 season.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • In an in-depth feature for ESPN, Israel Gutierrez details Tyler Herro‘s growth over the last two seasons, from his struggles in 2020/21 to his probable Sixth Man of the Year win in 2022. Within the story, the Heat guard dismissed the rumors that surfaced a year ago about the team being concerned by his so-called celebrity lifestyle. “There were so much rumors floating around my name,” Herro said. “The lifestyle stuff, the girls, and saying I’m getting caught up in that, which was never true.”
  • Markieff Morris has recovered from the neck injury he suffered when he was hit from behind by Nikola Jokic in November, but the way that situation played out still doesn’t sit well with head coach Erik Spoelstra, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Markieff’s story has been probably frustrating,” Spoelstra said, “Something that shouldn’t have happened, and it’s only a one-game suspension for that, and he had to miss months of time. It makes no sense, but he’s handled that with great grace and class.”
  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic takes a look at the Heat’s “high-class” problem of having a roster so loaded with contributors that they pulled Duncan Robinson from their starting five and removed Morris and Victor Oladipo from the rotation entirely. Spoelstra still expects to lean on Morris and Oladipo at some point in the postseason, per Winderman. “You see how quickly things can change,” Spoelstra said, pointing to Caleb Martin‘s emergence in Game 2 vs. Atlanta. “All of sudden Caleb played and had really significant and important minutes in that second half. I anticipate the same thing will happen for Vic and Markieff.”

Heat Notes: Adebayo, Morris, UDFAs, Tucker

Having initially been listed as questionable for Tuesday’s game due to a left quad contusion, Heat big man Bam Adebayo said today that he’s playing, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

Adebayo, who expressed on Monday that his finish outside of the top three in Defensive Player of the Year voting was “disrespectful,” told reporters on Tuesday that he’s moving on from the perceived snub and is focused on Game 2, according to Jackson.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Viewed as one of the Heat’s most important reserves entering the season, Markieff Morris was limited to 17 games this season due to a neck injury and was a DNP-CD in the first game of the playoffs. He has discussed his situation with head coach Erik Spoelstra, but says he “has to accept it” and hasn’t complained, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. “Obviously, I’m one of the top guys on the team. But we’ve had success without me,” Morris said. “It happens to be one of those things – and I understand — if I’m needed, that’s when I’ll play. There’s nothing I can really do. It has nothing to do with my game or my career. … This situation now, it’s not broken, so no need to fix it.”
  • The Heat have had an inordinate amount of success with undrafted players, including Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn, Gabe Vincent, and Omer Yurtseven in recent years, not to mention 19-year veteran Udonis Haslem. In a story for ESPN.com, Andrew Lopez takes a look at the impressive work the franchise has done developing players who have been overlooked on draft night. “It’s an organizational philosophy of ours,” Spoelstra told ESPN. “We’ve done it now for several years. We know what we’re looking for. We’re not for everybody, but we love to be dream makers.”
  • Veteran forward P.J. Tucker has embraced the idea of being a mentor for the Heat’s younger players, saying this week that he wishes a veteran had taken on that role with him earlier in his career. “I think so many times when I was younger, coming into the league, being a young player, I wish I had somebody to kind of help me, teach me little tricks of the trade, little things you got to do, how to stay focused,” Tucker said, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

Eastern Notes: Porzingis, Jordan, Haslem, Morris

Wizards big man Kristaps Porzingis showed he can still be dominant in the team’s victory over the Lakers on Saturday, Josh Robbins of The Athletic writes. Porzingis finished with 27 points and five assists, helping his team win 127-119.

“Just down the stretch, we wanted to play through him,” teammate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said. “No one could stop K.P. at the elbow. He was just turning around and shooting over everybody. It’s going to be great just to see if we can get him a full season. We already know what he can do.”

Porzingis was acquired by the Wizards in February. He has dealt with a variety of injuries over his career (and hasn’t played over 60 games since the 2016/17 season), but he can still be productive when healthy. In seven games with Washington, he’s averaging 20.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest.

There’s more out of the Eastern Conference:

Heat Notes: Herro, Robinson, Morris, Tucker

Tyler Herro has rebounded from a difficult season to become the NBA’s leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year, and he said the trials of last season inspired him, writes Wes Goldberg of The Miami Herald. Herro made an immediate impact as a rookie in 2019/20, helping the Heat reach the NBA Finals. But that was followed by a short offseason and then a second season where nothing came as easily.

“If last year didn’t happen I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at right now,” Herro said. “I just took it as motivation to get myself better, mentally and physically.”

Miami made Herro its starting point guard at the beginning of last season, but he only held the job for 14 games before being sent back to the bench. A few months after being hailed as a rookie sensation, he was frequently mentioned as trade bait, with rumors lasting throughout the summer. With a more standard offseason to work on his game, Herro improved his play-making and now handles that role for the second unit.

“It’s a lot mentally to try to block the noise out,” Herro said. “I knew that I would eventually get to an offseason where I could relax and decompress and get myself back to where I wanted to be.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Duncan Robinson credits former NBA guard J.J. Redick for helping him stay confident when his shot wasn’t falling earlier this season, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Robinson was feeling pressure to deliver after signing a $90MM contract, but Redick told him to relax and keep shooting. “He’s seen it all in this league, offered me some words of encouragement,” Robinson said. “His advice stuck. I talked to Redick. I talked to a bunch of people. I’m fortunate to have a lot of people in my corner willing to lend a word and ear, whatever I need.”
  • On Friday, coach Erik Spoelstra used Markieff Morris as the backup center in place of Dewayne Dedmon for the second time this week, Jackson observes in the same piece. Caleb Martin understands that other players have to help on the glass when the team employs a small-ball lineup, saying they need to show “pride on the perimeter to get more rebounds. We’ve got to do more jobs as wings to try to help the bigs.”
  • Spoelstra would like to give P.J. Tucker some rest before the playoffs, but the veteran forward isn’t on board, Jackson adds. “Every time I’ve suggested it, he’ll just laugh in my face,” Spoelstra said. “Sometimes he’ll scowl at me. With the schedule right now, I don’t think we have to [rest him]. We’ll see when we get there.”

Southeast Notes: Isaac, Magic, Hachimura, Morris

Discussing the decision to rule out Jonathan Isaac for the remainder of the season, Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman and Isaac himself said on Tuesday there hasn’t been a setback in the forward’s recovery process from a torn ACL, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. That recovery process has simply taken a little longer than Isaac and the Magic expected.

“In terms of building the muscle around my knee, it’s taken a bit longer than we’ve wanted it to,” Isaac said.

According to Weltman, Isaac has been participating in half-court contact drills, but hasn’t progressed to full-court contact. There isn’t enough time left in the regular season for Isaac to go through the last few steps he needs to return to action, so the Magic will count on having him available to start the 2022/23 season.

“This is another example of why you just do the work everyday and kind of let the work and timeline unroll at its own pace,” Weltman said, per Price. “That’s the right way to do it.”

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), the injury protection language in Isaac’s rookie scale extension means the Magic would only be on the hook for $23.6MM of the $52.2MM owed to him over the next three seasons if they were to waive him. However, there’s no indication that Orlando is considering that possibility.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • With Isaac and Bol Bol officially ruled out for the rest of the season, Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley should have a clearer sense of which rotation options will be available to him for the final few weeks of 2021/22, Price writes in a separate story for The Orlando Sentinel.
  • After starting all 105 games he played during his first two NBA seasons, Rui Hachimura has come off the Wizards‘ bench in all 27 of his appearances in 2021/22. However, as Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets, head coach Wes Unseld Jr. said it’s possible Hachimura will re-enter the starting lineup before the end of the season. “Everything is on the table,” Unseld said. “I like where he is right now, but as he progresses, we’ll see… Where he is right now from where he was two months ago, it’s night and day.”
  • After returning on Saturday following a four-month absence due to a neck injury, Heat forward Markieff Morris said he only briefly entertained the possibility that he wouldn’t make it back this season, according to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “At times, doubt crept in,” Morris said. “It probably wasn’t until January when the doubt crept in because it was just so long and there were a bunch of things happening that didn’t go as planned. … Other than that, if you ask me personally, I already knew that I would come back to play. It was more so not a matter of if, it was a matter of when.” Morris has played 17 minutes in each of his two appearances since returning, reclaiming his role as the team’s backup power forward.

Southeast Notes: Wizards, Morris, Bamba, Ball, Thomas

Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. blasted his team’s defensive effort after Saturday’s 127-118 loss to the Blazers, Ava Wallace of the Washington Post writes. Washington allowed Portland to shoot 52% from the floor and 37% from three-point range. The Blazers were led by Josh Hart, who scored 44 points.

“It’s not something schematic, it’s some of the same issues,” Unseld explained. “We talked about the one-on-one containment, there’s no scheme for transition defense. “You can say okay, well, let’s take care of the ball, we can do that better. But when the shot goes up, there’s no scheme to say, ‘You have to be here, you have to be here, you have to be here,’ it’s an effort, a level of focus, communication that takes care of that.”

The Wizards also allowed 122 points in a loss to the Lakers on Friday. Los Angeles, led by LeBron James (50 points), shot 53% from the floor. On the season, Washington ranks just 24th in defensive rating and 18th in points allowed per game (111.2).

There’s more from the Southeast Division tonight:

  • Heat veteran Markieff Morris returned on Saturday for the first time since November 8, but the forward has no interest in hearing from Nikola Jokic, as relayed by Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Jokic’s hard shot on Morris caused whiplash for the 32-year-old, forcing him to miss most of the season. The hit came after Morris delivered a hard foul just seconds earlier. “F– nah, I don’t want to hear from him,” Morris snapped, according to Vardon. “He did what he did and it is what it is.”
  • Magic center Mohamed Bamba has stepped up for the team in recent games, specifically in the paint, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel writes. Bamba recently finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks against the Timberwolves on Friday, helping his club win 118-110. He was drafted No. 6 overall in 2018 and is in his fourth season with the organization.
  • Hornets veteran Isaiah Thomas is impressed with young star LaMelo Ball, Rod Boone of the Charlotte Observer writes. “I mean, he’s going to be the face of this league,” Thomas said of Ball. “He’s already an All-Star. Give him two or three years and he’s going to be top-five, top-10 in this league easily. He’s a special talent. He’s very young. He has great energy. His pace to the game, you can’t teach his pace. And he’s, what, 6-foot-7? He has the full package.” Thomas is currently on his second 10-day deal with the Hornets and could be part of the rotation moving forward, Boone notes (via Twitter).

Markieff Morris Available To Play On Saturday

After missing the past 58 games with whiplash, Markieff Morris will be available for tonight’s contest against Minnesota, the Heat announced (via Twitter).

Morris has been out of action since a November 8 incident with Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who hit him from behind in retaliation for what Jokic considered to be an excessive foul. Both players were ejected following the exchange.

Morris has been practicing with the team and traveling to road games for several weeks in anticipation of his return. He recently received clearance from the NBA’s Fitness-to-Play Panel, which proclaimed him “medically able and medically fit to practice and play.”

An offseason addition in free agency, Morris played just 10 games for Miami before the injury. He was used off the bench and averaged 7.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per night.

Heat’s Markieff Morris Close To Returning

Forward Markieff Morris has received medical clearance to return for the Heat, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press details.

Morris has missed 58 straight games with whiplash after a controversial incident between Morris and Nikola Jokic on November 8. Both players were ejected from the game, with Jokic receiving a one-game suspension.

It was reported a little over a month ago that Morris was eager to return to action, but the Heat were concerned with potential liability issues and were unwilling to clear him. Morris had a previous neck injury in 2019.

However, a source tells Reynolds that Morris has cleared a vital hurdle — he was deemed “medically able and medically fit to practice and play” by the NBA’s Fitness-to-Play Panel, which consists of three physicians.

According to Reynolds, the belief is the veteran will be available to play at some point during Miami’s current stretch of home games. The Heat face the Wolves on Saturday, the Pistons on Tuesday, and the Thunder next Friday.

Morris has been traveling and practicing with the team for several weeks, as well as doing pregame shooting sessions prior to games. Morris, 32, is averaging 7.7 points and 2.8 rebounds on .457/.364/1.000 shooting through 10 games this season (18.7 minutes).