Celtics

Celtics finally get to see what a healthy, well-rested Marcus Morris looks like

Celtics finally get to see what a healthy, well-rested Marcus Morris looks like

LONDON -- So this is what a well-rested, non-restricted Marcus Morris looks like, huh?

For weeks, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has talked about how important a healthy Morris will be to the Celtics’ chances of being the best version of themselves.

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The folks here in London got an eyeful on Thursday night as Morris delivered one of his best performances to date in helping Boston rally from 22 points down to defeat Philadelphia 114-103.

“I felt good,” said Morris who told NBC Sports Boston earlier in the week that he would play tonight without any minutes restrictions. “First time just being out there and not worrying about the six-minute mark, the five-minute mark.”

Morris, who had 19 points in Thursday's win, has missed 21 games this season with left knee soreness. 

The Celtics are certainly benefiting from his shot-making, as well as defense. 

But he also brings a certain brand of toughness, an edge to the game that sometimes rubs some players the wrong way. 

With less than five minutes to play and the game’s momentum having been fully swung in Boston’s favor, Sixers Ben Simmons laid a hard shoulder into an unsuspecting Morris who, on offense at the time, was sent tumbling to the ground. It was ruled a foul on Simmons, but Morris immediately jumped to his feet and pushed Simmons before players and officials stepped in. 

Morris was whistled for a technical foul that led to a free throw made by J.J. Redick who led all scorers with 22 points. 

Afterwards, Morris went to the free throw line and made a pair that increased Boston’s lead to 107-91.

“Strong hit,” said Simmons when asked to describe what happened. “I guess he didn’t like it. That’s about it.”

Morris believes Simmons was frustrated at how the game was playing out.

 “He took a cheap shot,” said Morris, a Philadelphia native. “But it’s all right. I take a lot of cheap shots too. It’s good to see Philly got some … tougher guys. I promise you that won’t happen again. It is what it is. Hopefully I won’t get fined for that.”

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Kyrie questionable for Thursday night vs. Sixers

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Kyrie questionable for Thursday night vs. Sixers

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics were close to being fully whole when they faced Philadelphia last week.

Tomorrow night’s game against the Sixers?

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That remains to be seen with three Celtics deemed questionable, chief among them being Kyrie Irving.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Irving has a sore left shoulder and was held out of Wednesday’s practice. In addition, Marcus Smart and Guerschon Yabusele are also questionable.

While it doesn’t appear to be a serious injury, the Celtics continue to be overly cautious with their players when it comes to injuries.

Irving, whose 24.1 points per game ranks 13th in the NBA, struggled in the first half of the 116-113 overtime loss to New Orleans on Tuesday night before finishing with a team-high 27 points.

“Kyrie was a little bit banged up from yesterday, on his left shoulder,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “He was getting treatments, and walked through with us, just now.”

In addition to Irving, Smart and Yabusele did not practice due to being under the weather.

“It could be the flu that Shane [Larkin] and [Abdel] Nader had the last couple of days,” Stevens said. “So, wash your hands.”

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Pierce to Ainge: I.T. 'punked you' on video tribute

Pierce to Ainge: I.T. 'punked you' on video tribute

So, as Video Tributegate rages on, comes word that Paul Pierce that after a meeting with Danny Ainge, they put a stop to plans to include a salute to Isaiah Thomas on Feb. 11, the day Pierce's Celtics' No. 34 is retired at TD Garden after a game with Thomas' Cavs.

Pierce told ESPN's Jackie MacMullan and Chris Forsberg that it was Ainge feeling guilty for how Thomas' trade to the Cavaliers went down that led to the Celtics ceding to I.T.'s wishes and not presenting a video tribute the night he returned to TD Garden for the first time with Cleveland Jan. 3 because Thomas' family wasn't there.

"Danny tried to sell me on it, but I told him, 'He had a shot, Danny, and he punked you on it. He pretty much dictated everything,' " Pierce told ESPN. "They let it happen because they felt sorry how [the trade] went down. It's guilt. That's what it is."

Pierce said he had a 40-minute discussion with Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, about the flap over the competing tributes. 

"Danny and I talked about it for 40 minutes," Pierce told ESPN. "He told me, 'This is what we have planned,' and at the end of the conversation, he said, 'If you don't want us to do Isaiah, we won't.' So I told him, 'I really don't.' So that was it."

The result was this Thomas' tweet on Monday night. Incidentally, Feb. 11 is the Cavs' last regular-season visit to Boston.

In addition, Forsberg reports that an I.T. tribute won't come in playoffs if the two teams meet. So, it's on to 2019 for I.T. big moment at the Garden.

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