On the Marcus: Morris backs up his words vs. LBJ in Game 1

Marcus Morris of the Celtics forced this reaction from LeBron James of the Cavaliers more than once during Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday at TD Garden.

Marcus Morris wanted the challenge, was tasked with the challenge and for one game, anyway, he conquered the challenge.

That being trying to check the best player on the planet, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, in the Eastern Conference Finals.

After James was limited to 15 points on 5-of-16 shooting and committing seven turnovers in a 108-83 Boston win in Game 1, Smart made it a point to credit his teammates for helping on James, whom he guarded on 39 possessions according to Spectrum numbers.

“It’s a team effort, man, it’s not just me,” Morris said postgame. “Everybody played their part in guarding him. He’s obviously the best player in the game, and you need multiple guys and a team to guard him an entire game. I just think we did a great job of that.”

Morris, as is his trademark, didn’t give an inch against James, who came into the game averaging 34 points and not having scored less than 22 points in the first 11 games of this postseason.

“I’m a competitor,” Morris said. “He’s the best player, you know? I”m going to be able to tell my kids [about defending James] one day. It’s exciting. I love the challenge but, like I said, man, it’s a team effort.”

Morris’ work against him did not go unnoticed by James.

“I thought they had great game plan Game 1,” James said of the Celtics. “[Morris] was the start of it. He was my matchup and I think they did a great job of communicating throughout the whole game, knowing where I was and knowing where our teammates was.

“[Celtics coach] Brad [Stevens] and the coaching staff did a great job in Game 1. You commend that. We have an opportunity to look at a lot of film tomorrow, and see ways they were making us uncomfortable, making myself off balance and not have a rhythm all game. So we’ll be much better in Game 2.”

Boston point guard Terry Rozier, filling in for the injured Kyrie Irving (left knee), said the Celtics were spurred by the way Morris embraced the challenge of checking James.

“It’s not easy guarding LeBron but he likes that challenge,” Rozier said. “That’s something with a guy who likes that challenge, you throw him out there and put him up against him.

“That’s what he did. He took on the challenge and made him work on defense, too. It was just good to have him out there, another dog out there with us. He did a lot of good things.”

Even as the Celtics play without not only Irving, but also Gordon Hayward (ankle) and Daniel Theis (knee), the remain steadfast in their belief they are up for the challenge of trying to take down James the three-time defending conference champion Cavaliers.

“Our confidence is very high,” Morris said. “The younger guys to the older guys, we think we can compete and play with anybody. At the end of the day, all the talking done off the court. Once we step between them lines, we have to compete no matter who we have out there, and that’s what we’ve been doing.”

5 Comments on "On the Marcus: Morris backs up his words vs. LBJ in Game 1"

  1. I expected the cavaliers to lose but not get lambasted the way they did. The starting lineup was what i knew was not in their best interest to use. Minus calderone, hill in his place, the same one dimensional small unit used against the pacers games 2-6 culminating in a 34 point loss in game 6. Correction game 7 was to add thmpson and let lebron james control the point of attack. Hill had 0 assists in 28 minutes of play against the celtics. He defended rozier well but was a non factor. Love was hurt defensively against horford. The cavaliers had no low post presence and relied on low percentage outside shots as the celtics sealed the paint. Nitty gritty time is approaching and it is time for appropriate adjustments to ad moree versatility and greater size to their starting lineup as well as using athletic 6’9” larry nance in the rotation. Starting lineup is james, smith hood, love and thompson. Bench unit is clarkson, hill, kover, green and nance. Hood’s contract expires this season and is motivated to play well after the awful showing thus far. Put some pressure on penetrators brown , tatum and horford and a bigger more athletic starting lineup along with using a ten man rotation when the celtics use smart and bain give the cavaliers an advantage in wearing down the depleted celtics in a series of atrition.

    • Hey, William… what a butt-kicking that was! Then again, this really is nothing unusual in the playoffs, and especially, for this bunch of Cavaliers. It most definitely is a different team than we’ve watched en route to the three previous Finals. Who would’ve thought after the regular season he had the Cavaliers would be looking to Thompson and now, after Hood’s amateur-hour stunt in Game 4 against the Raps? As the late, great Pete Franklin entertained us with decades ago, as the ball bounces, indeed.

  2. The Cavs failed in every aspect of the game.

    Grade for Cavs: F
    Grade for LeBron: F
    Grade for Lue: F-

    Absolutely unwatchable trash. I turned it off midway through the 2nd quarter. Happy Mother’s Day.

    • Hi, Wolv.. I wish I had done as you did and turned it off, especially listening to JVG and Jackson, and I won’t even begin to describe the pregame, halftime, etc. Every time I watch a game on the Four-Letter Network I wish it was the TNT crew doing it. As far as what you wanted for about a quarter and a half and what I watched for four quarters, F would certainly apply… in several manners. lol On to Game 2..

  3. I didn’t see much of the game by the time I decided to watch towards the end of the 1st quarter it was unwatchable. But all year the Cavs have had problems with young teams. So a young team with a great coach is trouble. Koby saw this an tried to make an adjustment by bringing in some young players the problem is Lue/LeBron does know how to coach/play with young players. Osman and Zizic should have been prepared for this instead they were like redshirt rookies while LeBron played 37+ mins because they “can win without him. The highest payroll in the league can win without 1 player? So these old guys trying to keep up with these young confident players with an excellent coach. This is Indiana with 3 Victors (Hortford. Tatum and Brown) + Scary Terry and Smart and a better coach. The Cavs are in trouble, they have the players but they need the coach to believe in them and give them the opportunity. It maybe too late but Lue better start coaching.

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