Celtics

Celtics lift spirits, and get theirs lifted, in visit to Boston Children's Hospital

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Celtics lift spirits, and get theirs lifted, in visit to Boston Children's Hospital

BOSTON -- Marcus Morris has been bothered by left knee soreness that continues to limit his availability for the Celtics. 
 
But as much as it hurts Morris to not be able to play with his teammates, he knows all too well just how blessed he is in life. 
 
Morris was among the C's players participating Thursday in the team's annual trip to Boston Children's Hospital, where they put quite a few smiles on the faces of children who -- as Morris and others were quick to acknowledge -- are dealing with real challenges and adversity that trump any bumps, bruises and setbacks on the basketball court they might be experiencing.
 
"For us to get a chance to come over for an afternoon, it's something that  . . . it's one of my favorite places to be," said coach Brad Stevens. "Our team would echo that."

Especially Morris, who, along with his twin brother Markieff Morris, recently spent about $6,000 to pay off the remaining balance on gifts put on layaway at a Walmart in their hometown of Philadelphia. 

"It's the least I can do," Morris told NBC Sports Boston. "My mom, she's got a big heart, just trying to find something different to do. I remember when I was a kid, we used to have so much stuff on layaway and we would get it off like, two days before Christmas. So, I just tried to surprise some people, take care of some layaways."
 
But as we've seen in the past with the Celtics and Boston Children's Hospital, the giving of their time to sit and talk with young patients, share stories and -- in the case of Marcus Smart -- develop life-long bonds with patients, is priceless. 
 
In October, Smart was named the recipient of the New England Baptist Hospital's Community Champions Award in part for the time he has spent at local hospitals that have formed friendships that remain just as strong today. 
 
During his acceptance speech, he brought the packed capacity crowd to near tears detailing his involvement with ill family members and how that has shaped his interactions and friendships with some of the hospitalized youngsters.
 
For Smart, whose older brother Todd died of cancer in 2004, there's a connection that goes beyond the holiday season that he feels when gets a chance to spend time with the kids at Boston Children's Hospital and their family members. 
 
"I have a special connection with these kids here," Smart acknowledged. "Growing up, I went through what some of these kids go through and their families. I understand . . . it's hard to open up to somebody. I know for the kids, it means a lot for us to be here."
 
Although Jayson Tatum is only a rookie, he said today was his second trip visiting the hospital as a Celtic, a reminder that this is part of what being a member of this organization is all about. 
 
"I think it's great that we use our platform, to spend time with these kids to take their minds off of what they're going through" Tatum said. "Even for a couple of hours."

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Celtics are calm, focused, and ready for Game 4

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

Celtics are calm, focused, and ready for Game 4

MILWAUKEE – Inside the Boston Celtics locker room, there was an unmistakable calm among the players moments removed from a 116-92 thumping at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Players talked among themselves about what went wrong, about what they will do different in Game 4 on Sunday but more than anything else, they owned the loss.

There was no finger-pointing or second-guessing the head coaches’ player rotations or not-so-stealth putdowns of an opposing player who had been playing well – all things done by the Bucks thus far in this series.

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The post-game highlights were still in heavy rotation, but the Celtics had already moved on mentally to Sunday’s Game 4 matchup.

“They did what they had to do. It is what it is,” Marcus Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “Can’t dwell on it. We’ll see them on Sunday.”

As much as Boston has been a team that’s built upon a “Next Man Up” framework, an “on-to-the-next-game” mindset is also deeply woven into this team’s DNA.

That’s why win or lose, the Celtics don’t spend much time thinking or talking about what just happened.

And it is games like the one we saw on Friday where that approach is absolutely critical to them continuing along a successful path and not let rough nights such as Friday’s beatdown, derail them.

More than anything else, the Celtics have extracted elements beyond the X’s and O’s of Friday’s loss as their takeaways in helping improve their overall play for Sunday.

It’s easy to forget that Friday’s game was the first time this team had played a postseason road game together which any NBA veteran will tell you, is different than what you experience during the regular season.

Boston’s Al Horford believes having gone through that with this group for the first time on Friday, will benefit the Celtics in Game 4.

“We learned what the level of intensity is when you’re playing in the playoffs on the road,” Horford said. “At home, you feel good. You’re comfortable and confident. Even though we’ve been playing on the road all year, it’s different in the playoffs.

Horford added, “it’s a good learning experience for our group.”

And while there are sure to be adjustments made on Boston’s part, don’t expected them to stray too far away from who they have been all season.

“We’re super excited about Sunday,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “(Friday), we dropped the ball. We feel like we could have played a lot better. We can’t wait for Sunday, and we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing all year.”

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Morris fined $15,000 for criticism of officiating

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Morris fined $15,000 for criticism of officiating

MILWAUKEE – Marcus Morris has been fined $15,000 for “public criticism” of officiating relating to Boston’s 116-92 loss to Milwaukee on Friday night.

Following the loss, Morris was asked about the technical foul he received after some brief words with Bucks forward/center Thon Maker.

Morris was the only player whistled for a technical foul for either team.

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"I can't even speak on it, man," Morris told reporters when asked about the technical foul. "It's been the same (bleep) all year. I'm expecting it. They knew what they wanted before the game started. They knew who they wanted to go after.”

Morris was ejected in a Celtics win over Toronto on March 31, and afterwards tapped the official on his backside as he left the court.

Since then, Morris has sensed officials were giving him the cold shoulder and to a lesser degree, not giving him the same benefit of the doubt or leeway as other players.

After the ejection, Morris took to Twitter to apologize for making contact with an official.

“Sorry @NBA for smacking the ref ass after getting ejected. I see other refs took offense to it. My apologies

— Marcus Morris (@MookMorris2)”

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