Celtics

Celtics' Marcus Morris: "When I look at us I see a bunch of individuals"

Celtics' Marcus Morris: "When I look at us I see a bunch of individuals"

BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics suffered a second straight head-scratching defeat, losing 123-112 to the Los Angeles Clippers after leading by as many as 28 points. 

But the factors leading up to the loss and the emotionless reaction by most players afterwards, speaks to what may be a much larger issue looming inside the Celtics locker room that could torpedo their hopes of making a deep postseason run. 

Marcus Morris said the Celtics have not been having fun for a while, even as the wins piled up and they climbed their way back into the upper echelon of teams in the East. 

“I watch all these other teams in the league, they’re jumping on the court, all the stuff that looks like they’re enjoying their teammates’ success,” said Morris, who added, “And they’re playing together, and they're playing to win. When I look at us I see a bunch of individuals.”

Ouch.

Morris’ comments come on the heels of Boston (35-21) having lost two straight with the bigger picture being the Celtics winning 10 of its last 13 games which has allowed them to climb up a couple spots to the No. 3 seed in the East. 

So I asked him, what has to change?

“The goal has to be to win; the bottom line,” he said. “We have to play to win. That’s sacrificing, playing hard; that’s sacrificing, being a better teammate. That’s sacrificing, whatever it is we have to put it to the side. No one’s getting traded. The trade deadline is over. We’re competing for a championship and that’s how we have to approach the game. Win, lose or draw, you’re gonna lose games. But we don’t have no attitude, we don’t have no toughness. We ain’t having fun. It’s gonna be a long season.”

☘️CLIPPERS 123, CELTICS 112

Actually, it’s not going to be that long if their effort, focus and attention to detail remains as sporadic as it has been for most of this season. 

Following Saturday’s loss, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens alluded to some potential changes he might look to make in order to address those wickedly poor stretches of play this team tends to experience in the second and third quarters of games. 

“I need to go back and look at what I can do to help us manage those minutes better,” Stevens said.

Morris will leave that up to Stevens to decide what’s the best course of action as far as any potential changes. 

But he said on multiple occasions that he’s on board with whatever changes have to be made in order for this team to get back to winning games and having fun in the process. 

“If he wants to take me out of the starting lineup, get some juice in there, I’m with it,” Morris said. “But I’m trying to win; that’s the main goal. The trade deadline is over. This is the team we’re rockin’ with. At the end of the day, it’s unacceptable what we did tonight, very unacceptable for a team of our caliber.”

While Saturday’s loss may have been the catalyst to Morris’ comments, he made it clear that this has been an issue within the locker room for some time now, even in stretches in which they were winning games. 

“It’s been a little minute,” he said when asked about how long has this particular issue been going on. “We had talks about it. For us to be a championship team, that has to change. Win … that has to be the first goal. Whatever that takes, I’m with it.”

Up next for the Celtics will be a road test at the revamped Philadelphia 76ers, a team that’s fighting for the No. 3 spot along with Boston whose roster was upgraded at the trade deadline with a couple of additions headlined by Tobias Harris. 

Boston has shown a knack for rising to the level of elite competition, so the facing the Sixers comes on time, right? 

“It’s not about one game, it’s not about two games,” Morris said. “It’s about this entire experience. We have a great team. We have a lot of names, a great team. But if it’s not fun, not together, then how can we win? I’ve never seen a team not having fun, bonding well on the court, win a championship. If the goal is to win a championship, that has to change first.”

But is this team capable of making that change?

Morris believes they can, “but you have to start … gotta start somewhere,” he said. 

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Celtics vs. 76ers odds: Best NBA picks as Al Horford returns to Boston

Celtics vs. 76ers odds: Best NBA picks as Al Horford returns to Boston

Who doesn't love an old-fashioned rivalry game?

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers meet for the second time this season Thursday night, this time at TD Garden, where Al Horford spent three seasons in green and white.

Horford's new club put a whupping on the Celtics in their season opener, but the C's are 10-0 at home this season and will be out for revenge against their Atlantic Division foe.

Does Boston have enough firepower to set the record straight Thursday night? ... We're not so sure.

Here are our moneyline, point spread and point total picks for Celtics-Sixers, as well as two NBA locks against the spread.

(All odds provided by WestGate Superbook.)

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers, which tips off Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics, 8 p.m. ET

Moneyline: Philly and its size are just a tough matchup for the Celtics, especially if two of Boston's better defenders (Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward) can't play. I'll take the action on the Sixers (+105).

Point Spread: The Sixers are coming off quality wins over the Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets and are the only team that's really handled Boston this season. The Celtics have to lose at home at some point, and I think the Sixers (+1.5) do the honors.

Point Total: Both Philly and Boston have favored the under recently, but the Celtics' home juice should keep this game close throughout and get both teams over the century mark. I'm rolling with the OVER on the 210 point total.

Darren's record picking the Celtics' moneyline, point spread and point total: 32-24-1

NBA Locks of the Night

Dallas Mavericks (-5.5) at Detroit Pistons: The Mavs are 8-2 against the spread on the road this season. That's all the evidence I need to take Luka Doncic and Co. over a "meh" Pistons team.

Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets (-6): The Nuggets are back from an East Coast road trip to play a mediocre Blazers squad that's lost three of its last five. Denver rides the comforts of home to a comfortable victory.

Darren's record picking NBA locks against the spread: 21-15-1

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers live stream: How to watch NBA game online

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers live stream: How to watch NBA game online

The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers meet Thursday night for the first time since opening night and they have the added drama of Al Horford, who spent three years with the Celtics, returning to the Hub in an enemy uniform.

The two rivals again are vying for supremacy in the NBA's Eastern Conference, with the Celtics owning the third spot in the East at 17-6 and the Sixers currently fourth at 18-7. The C's will be out to avenge their opening night loss in Philly, which was the last time they saw old friend Horford, who makes his return to Boston after leaving as a free agent to join the longtime rivals in the City of Brotherly Love. 

Horford's departure was not without a little controversy. He spent three seasons with the Celtics, then declined his $30 million option for 2019-20 to become a free agent, but was expected to re-sign with Boston, only to take the more lucrative four-year, $109 million deal from Philly that he was rumored to have secured before the official start of free agency July 1. 

It will be interesting to see the reception the big man gets in his TD Garden return.

Be sure to tune into NBC Sports Boston for Celtics Pregame Live at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the game at 8 p.m. ET or stream it via the MyTeams app. 

HOW TO WATCH

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ANALYSIS AND REACTION

BEFORE THE GAME: At 7 p.m., Celtics Pregame Live presented by TD Bank gets you ready for the game with reports from Kyle Draper, Mike Gorman, Tommy Heinsohn, Brian Scalabrine, A. Sherrod Blakely, Chris Forsberg, and Abby Chin. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AT HALFTIME: Tune in to watch a breakdown of the first two quarters on Halftime Live presented by Ace Ticket. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream.

AFTER THE GAME: As soon as the game ends, tune to Celtics Postgame Live presented by New England Ford for analysis, commentary and player reaction. Watch on NBC Sports Boston or click here for the live stream

Questions on our livestream? Get all your questions answered here on our Streaming FAQ.

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Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-76ers, which tips off Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, and then Mike & Tommy have the call at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.