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.
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“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.”