Morris ‘ready to roll’ in his Celtics debut tonight in OKC


Morris ‘ready to roll’ in his Celtics debut tonight in OKC

OKLAHOMA CITY – Marcus Morris is on this trip with the Celtics and, for the first time this season, he will not be a spectator.
The 6-foot-9 forward will make his Celtics debut tonight against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Morris and coach Brad Stevens said Friday. 


“He’s ready to roll,” Stevens said. “The biggest thing is he’s been antsy to play now for a little bit. We wanted to make sure he was making the appropriate strides so that when he does come back, make sure he’s not going back and forth due to that knee soreness. Hopefully, that can be the case.”
Acquired this summer from Detroit, Morris joined the team late after, being acquitted of assault charges, along with his twin brother Markieff, in Phoenix following an incident in January of 2015.
In addition to missing the first eight regular-season games, Morris was also out for all but one of Boston’s preseason games.
Near the end of the preseason, Morris was having some soreness in his left knee that began giving him problems prior to his arrival for training camp.
“I’m very excited,” Morris said. “This would be a good game for me to come back.”
Boston faces an Oklahoma City team that’s led by a trio of All-Stars in Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
Because of Morris’ versatility as a defender, he’ll likely see time defending both George and Anthony while potentially being switched out defensively to try and defend Westbrook from time to time.
Still, Morris’ playing time will be limited tonight and, in all likelihood, for his first few games.
He said he will be coming off the bench and likely be limited to playing 20-22 minutes.
“We’ll see how it responds,” said Morris who added that he won’t be playing in back-to-back games, which means he will sit either Sunday at Orlando or Monday at Atlanta.
His insertion into the rotation will be welcomed by the Celtics, who believe his toughness can only help them going forward.
“A little more attitude” is what Celtics guard Marcus Smart expects Morris to bring to the roster.
“We got a lot of young guys, Marcus [Morris] has been playing for quite a while here. He understands the physicality and what you need to have to play in this league,” Smart said. “He’s going to help us a lot.”
Al Horford echoed similar comments about Morris.
“Marcus brings toughness. He’s a guy that’s a proven scorer, a guy that can score the ball, defend multiple positions,” Horford said. “So,  we’re excited. Whenever he’s ready to go, we’re welcoming him with open arms. We know he’s going to help our team be better.”
Making the night even more special for Marcus is that Markieff, who plays for the Washington Wizards and has been out all season with a sports hernia, is also expected to make his regular-season debut tonight.
“That’s crazy to think,” Morris said. “You got a better chance of hitting the lottery than seeing this.”


Baynes injury shakes up Celtics rotation

File Photo

Baynes injury shakes up Celtics rotation

Brad Stevens said a shake-up of some kind with the team’s rotation was on the table, but he didn’t want it to come about due to injuries.

Aron Baynes is out for tonight’s game against New York after suffering an elbow injury in the first quarter of Boston’s 110-98 win at Detroit on Friday night.

Replacing him in the starting lineup will be Daniel Theis who is coming off a career-high 19 points in Boston’s win over the Pistons.

Boston will also benefit from having Shane Larkin available. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said Larkin will be available to play after having missed the previous nine straight games because of a sore right knee.

Regardless of who may or may not play, the Celtics will need the collective efforts of all their available players to close out the regular season on a high note.

“We got a lot of guys that have done this for a long time, but we also got a lot of guys that haven’t,” Stevens said. “We gotta lean on all the freshness left in their legs.”


Have Celtics solved their second-quarter problem?

Have Celtics solved their second-quarter problem?

Let’s face it.

The second quarter has been a major problem for the Celtics this season.

And then there’s Friday night in a 110-98 victory in Detroit, where the Celtics outscored the Pistons 38-21 in the second to take control of the game.

The 38 points tied a season-high for second-quarter scoring and the +17 scoring margin in the quarter was their best in a second quarter this season.

Boston’s point differential for the season speaks to how, while the Celtics don’t score a ton of points, their defense allows them to have a bit of a scoring cushion most nights.

For the season, Boston’s point differential of +3.7 ranks fourth in the league behind Houston (+8.9), Toronto (+8.3) and Golden State (+8.1).

Still, if you hone in on what the Celtics do in the second quarter...it’s not pretty.

Their scoring differential this season in the second quarter is -1.1, which ranks in the bottom 10 in the NBA (24th specifically).

Here are five under-the-radar storylines you might not be thinking about heading into tonight’s game between the Celtics and Knicks as they close out their regular-season series (Boston leads, 2-1):


With the victory in Detroit, the Celtics won their 20th road game of the season. The victory puts them in select company in the NBA. Only Golden State (22-7) and Houston (21-7) have more road wins or a better road record than the Celtics (20-8).


Seeing Aron Baynes head to the bench and soon after towards the locker room with an elbow injury was not a good look. Following the win at Detroit, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Baynes had not been ruled out from playing tonight. Boston has been atop the NBA most of this season defensively and the play of Baynes has been critical to that success. Prior to the Pistons game, Boston’s defensive rating when Baynes was on the floor was 96.4. When he was not playing, it ballooned to 103.5.


You always have to be on guard when Beasley’s in the building. While his season numbers may suggest he’s a role player coming off the bench who can maybe score a little, don’t be fooled. Beasley is a cold-blooded scoring assassin who can kill a defense with his wide array of scoring techniques. The Celtics saw this up close earlier this season when Beasley dropped a season-high 32 points the Knicks' 102-93 victory over Boston on Dec. 21.


Boston can’t wait to flip the calendar and get on to March, because February has been brutal for the defense. In the four previous months this season, Boston’s defensive rating always ranked among the top-10 each month. But in February, Boston’s defensive rating of 108.6 currently ranks 16th in the NBA. There’s still time to improve upon that before the month is over, but February is likely to go down as Boston’s worst month defensively this season.


When it comes to history, Boston and New York share more than just being among the original teams when the NBA formed in 1946 (In 1946, the NBA had a different name, the Basketball Association of America. Following its third season, the BAA would merge with the National Basketball League to form what is now known as the NBA). They are also the only teams from the league’s inception that did not disband for a period of time, or move to another city.