MILWAUKEE – Marcus Morris, in an iso situation with a chance to tie the game up and potentially force overtime.
If you’re the Boston Celtics, you’ll take that scenario without hesitation.
But this was a road game, in Milwaukee, a place where very little has gone the way Morris intended.
Sunday was yet another one of those days for Morris, whose shot was off the mark as time expired in Milwaukee’s 104-102 Game 4 win which tied the best-of-seven series at two games apiece heading into Tuesday’s pivotal Game 5 matchup at the TD Garden.
After the game, Morris said the shot felt good on the release and he thought it was going in.
The man defending him, Khris Middleton, felt the same way.
“I just tried to contest it,” Middleton said. “He took a lot of tough shots. He’s a tough-shot maker. I just tried to challenge it. He got me with the same move in the first half and made it. This time I challenged it, used my length and I thought it was good from my view but it just went a little bit long.”
Morris led the Celtics bench with 13 points, but only shot 4-for-14 from the field.
As you listen to Morris following the Game 4 loss, it’s hard to tell whether he’s more consumed by the disappointment of how this series has played out the last two games, or frustration over more and more attention being paid to him and his interactions with game officials.
The 6-foot-9 forward was recently fined $15,000 for critical comments following Boston’s Game 3 loss.
And it’s clear that he’s still trying to figure out why things have been as they are with him and officials.
“I mean, I don’t know … one thing is every day I come out here, I put my hard hat on,” Morris said. “And I love to play this game. It’s just … game-in and game-out, it’s the same thing. I’m not doing a lot of chit-chat. I’m being physical and I’m watching these other games and they give them warnings and … if it’s me a technical foul. You come to work every day and put your heart and soul into something, and you feel like it’s a quick whistle on you. That’s just how it goes.”
While the whistles may seem to come quicker on him than a lot of other players, that should not have as big an impact on the way he has struggled shooting the ball in the last two games.
In Games 1 and 2 in Boston, Morris averaged 19.5 points per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field.
When the series moved to Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4, Morris’ scoring average dropped to just 10 points per game courtesy of him connecting on just 27.3 percent of his shot attempts.
The bottom line is clear: Boston has to play better on many levels, in order to regain control of this series.
And part of that improvement involves Morris.