BOSTON – The plan all along has been to bring Marcus Morris along at a gradual pace, and slowly but surely increase his minutes.
But that plan is becoming increasingly hard to do for the Boston Celtics.
Injuries to key players for the Celtics has created a greater need to get Morris some extended minutes.
But the bigger factor has been Morris’ play which was instrumental in Boston defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 107-96.
- Stars, studs and duds: Baynes delivers with Horford out
- Stevens: Celtics focused on next game, not the streak
- Smart: 'Everybody made winning plays'
Morris finished with a season-high 18 points 7-for-15 shooting.
Not only did he score the ball well, but delivered some of the biggest shots of the night for Boston (10-2) which extended its league-best winning streak to 10 games.
In the fourth quarter, Morris hit a short 11-foot jumper and followed that up 21 seconds later with an assist to Marcus Smart for a 3-pointer that put Boston ahead 94-88 with 7:30 to play.
The Lakers could not get any closer for the remainder of the game, one in which Morris capped off the scoring with a fade-away shot with 32.1 seconds to play that would prove to be the final made basket of the night for either team.
It was a much-needed performance by Morris to help the Celtics win, a game that Morris acknowledged afterward had his left knee, the one that had soreness which kept him sidelined for Boston’s first eight games and nine of the 12 this season, in more pain than usual.
“Today was more sore than others,” Morris acknowledged after the win. “My minutes restriction, for the time being I’m playing 22-25 minutes so just trying to see how it responds game-to-game, see if it’ll get better, see if it’ll get worse.”
When asked if the soreness will lead to him taking more time off to rest it, Morris said, “I can’t. As long as nothing’s wrong with it, mentally I won’t allow myself to (miss more games).”
Said Stevens: “We’re still trying to manage his minutes appropriately. He played more (against the Lakers) than he had played in either of the two previous games.”
Stevens said the plan is to slowly increase his minutes, but that was more challenging than he anticipated against the Lakers.
“It was hard to take him out,” Stevens said. “Because he really impacted the game, because he could post when they were playing small.”
He also benefited from playing with Baynes on Wednesday, his former teammate in Detroit.
“Mook (Morris) and I had some good times out there,” said Baynes who had a career-high-tying 21 points. “He hit me in the post. I was just trying to hit him as well. We definitely started out on the right foot. He made a few 3’s, and that’s what he does. When we’re starting to feel comfortable, it’s fun being out there with each other.”