Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut


Marcus Morris targeting Oct. 30 game vs. Spurs as date for Celtics debut

WALTHAM -- It appears Marcus Morris’ debut for the Celtics will be when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Oct. 30.
The 6-foot-9 forward confirmed to reporters on Monday that, for now, that’s the target date.
Morris spent time after practice playing some one-one-one against rookie Jayson Tatum.
“I’m trying to push on it a little more,” he said. “Felt pretty good beating the rook’s ass one-on-one.”
The addition of Morris to the lineup can’t come soon enough for the Celtics (1-2).  They have already lost Gordon Hayward (ankle) for the season, and Marcus Smart (ankle) missed Friday’s win over Philadelphia. Smart said he would probably be in uniform for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks. 
Those injuries have forced the Celtics to dig deeper into their roster, resulting in several first-year players seeing action. 
Having a veteran like Morris on the floor would bode well for the Celts in their quest to remain among the better teams in the East this season. 
Morris, who went through the non-contact portion of practice on Monday, joined the Celtics on Oct. 5, shortly after he and his brother Markieff (who plays for Washington) were acquitted of assault charges involving an incident in Phoenix in January of 2015. He appeared in one preseason game, scoring seven points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field.

Coach Brad Stevens said Morris was having some knee discomfort when he showed up for training camp. That, combined with showing up late to training camp because of his court case in Phoenix, resulted in him not having the level of conditioning he’s used to at the start of training camp. 
“It’s not that I’m in bad shape,” he told NBC Sports Boston earlier. “It’s just that I’m not where I expect myself to be conditioning-wise, right now.”
Morris echoed similar sentiments on Monday. 
“I’m in great condition,” he said. “I just want to be a little better. My conditioning has never been the problem. It’s the soreness in my [left] knee. It’s gotten a lot better over the past 10 days, so I feel I can play now. But be cautious because it’s a long season.”
Morris was acquired in the summer by Boston from Detroit, in exchange for Avery Bradley. The move was done to not only ensure there was enough salary cap space to sign then-free agent Gordon Hayward, but also for the Celtics to add a versatile player who can play both forward positions.

How to watch/stream Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics, Game 3

How to watch/stream Milwaukee Bucks vs Boston Celtics, Game 3

Tune into NBC Sports Boston to watch Game 3 of the opening round of the NBA playoffs, as the Celtics play the Bucks in Milwaukee. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by Nissan on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

- Game preview: Celtics have chance to put Bucks in deep hole

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Celtics-Bucks preview: Bucks' last chance to make it a series

Celtics-Bucks preview: Bucks' last chance to make it a series

MILWAUKEE - Home or on the road, Giannis Antetokounmpo has been a load for the Celtics.

His 32.5 points per game in the playoffs is second only to LeBron James' 35-point average.

The difference, aside from James’ team being tied 1-1 with Indiana, is that Antetokounmpo is shooting a higher percentage (.632 compared to James' .585) in part because he has not scored a single point from behind 3-point range.

And he hasn’t gotten much help from the perimeter from his teammates, either. Milwaukee has averaged just 19 three-pointers per game, which is dead-last among the 16 teams playoff teams. And their 7.5 made 3’s per game ranks 14th while the Celtics are ranked seventh with 12.0 made 3’s per game.

“We’re getting shots; we’re making shots,” the Bucks' Khris Middleton told NBC Sports Boston. “It’s the little things, like turnovers and rebounds we have to do a better job at cleaning up.”

The Bucks are hoping a return to familiar surroundings will be just what they need to turn this series into a competitive one.

And to Celtics coach Brad Stevens’ credit, he has done his part to constantly stay on his team about playing with an edge, well aware of how quickly this series can change if they show any signs of letting up.

“If we don’t play with an edge we’ll get beat by 30,” Stevens said. “So we better play with an edge. Better play competitive, better be tough; can’t let go of that. You don’t have a chance if you don’t do that."

Stevens added: “That’s kind of who we’ve been . . . We’ve got really competitive guys. And if you don’t compete, you’re gonna get beat. The game will be honest.”