BOSTON – Let the gamesmanship begin.
The Washington Wizards remain tight-lipped about whether Markieff Morris (left ankle) will play tonight, while the Celtics are looking to make an “anticipated” lineup change.
Morris, who did some work during the team’s morning shoot-around, reiterated that he had every intention of playing tonight after suffering a left ankle sprain after he landed on the foot of Boston’s Al Horford in Game 1 on Sunday.
But Washington head coach Scott Brooks remains non-committal on whether the 6-foot-10 forward will play tonight.
“We won’t know right until game time,” Brooks said. “Go from there.”
Earlier this afternoon, Brooks made it clear that the decision on whether he plays may come down to the coach overruling the player.
“We're gonna do what's best for him long term,” Brooks said. “And if Kieff can play tonight, and feel comfortable along with our staff, medical staff and myself, he will play. If not, he's not gonna play no matter how many times he punches me in the face. It's not going to happen. He is pretty intimidating but I'm not going to allow him to intimidate me if he wants to play.”
When told about Brooks’ comments, Morris replied. “Yeah; that's between me and Scott. If it had to be someone to tell me I couldn't play it would be him.”
Whether Morris plays will determine if Stevens makes a lineup change.
Prior to the game, Stevens said his “anticipated” starting five will include the usual cast of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Al Horford with Amir Johnson returning to the starting five in place of Gerald Green who was 5-0 as a starter.
When asked by CSN’s Abby Chin if the “anticipated” starting five is contingent on whether Morris plays, “could be” said Stevens, with a smile. “That’s why I used the word anticipated. That was a good way of saying it. I didn’t want to spend the last hour thinking of what word to use.”
If Morris does play, there’s no telling how limited if at all, he will be for the Wizards.
“That guy’s a really good player,” Stevens said. “You have to play him as if he’s 100 percent.”