By Stefan Djordjevic/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcus Morris was the primary defender in charge of Luka Doncic throughout the series and he has been playing his role in a tough, some would say ‘aggressive’ manner.
He has been quite physical with Doncic all along but it was a few situations in particular that caught the suspicious eyes of the public more than the others.
It all started with a bit of unnecessary contact after a whistle stopped the play in Game 1 which led to Kristaps Porzingis standing up for his teammate, just to get ejected after the scuffle.
Fast forward to Game 5, the incident that really fueled the narrative of Morris targeting Doncic was when he stepped on the latter’s ankle, the one he hurt during the series.
Luka wasn’t sure about the intentions at the time with the hope it wasn’t intentional while Morris shared a strong statement that he is in no manner trying to hurt the young star.
However, the two got into a heated situation once again in Game 6, as the Clippers forward hit Doncic on the head during a drive to the basket. The referees didn’t tolerate it and Morris got ejected near the end of the first quarter with a flagrant foul 2.
Doncic has had enough of it for sure: “It was a terrible play. What can I say? It’s two games in a row he did something like that. I really hoped the first game it wasn’t on purpose, but looking back on the foul this game, you know what I think. I don’t want to deal with that kind of players. Just move on.”
There is, however, always two sides (at least) to a story and the side of Morris sings a different tune: “They had to make that call. I think, honestly, we had a lot of back-and-forth this series. It was a hard-fought series. I just don’t want people to mistake playing basketball, playing hard with trying to hurt somebody. I think Tim Hardaway had an extremely hard foul with last game, and it wasn’t taken in the same context,” Morris said.
He also doesn’t think it will impact his availability for the start of the second round: “Honestly, I don’t think it escalated to that level. It is not like I didn’t touch any of the ball. I didn’t wind up. I didn’t do any of that. It was a hard foul.”
The coaches, conveniently, took the sides of their respective players with Rick Carlisle marking it as “an unnecessary play and unfortunate,” as well as that it was immediately obvious that there will be an ejection.
On the other hand, Doc Rivers didn’t think there should have even been an ejection: “I don’t think he should have been thrown out, but listen, I’m biased. I thought he made a play on a ball, and he hit him on the head. It happens all game. I think it was a reputation throw out, but you’ve just got to live with it. I love Marcus’s intensity. Yeah, he’s a tough guy. He’s not backing down, and I love that.”