BOSTON — Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris admitted he spoke out of frustration when he vented about a joyless season in the aftermath of Saturday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, but he stressed Monday that his comments were made in large part because he sees the potential of this team if it can come together.
Morris said he felt like his teammates understood his message when he suggested that the Celtics haven’t been having fun much of the season and are too focused on individual accomplishments rather than hunting a title as a group. Morris met with reporters before the team’s flight to Philadelphia and expressed hope that, by publicly voicing his concerns, the team can rally together.
"To me, it was just speaking real. I'm not really about to BS stuff,” said Morris. "I want to win a championship. I understand what it takes to get there basically every day. And I think that's why my teammates, they definitely accepted it, because they see that I'm a guy that comes in here and I put my hard hat on and come to work. I'm passionate about it, and I don't know no other way.
"To be in this position, to have a chance to compete for something like that, it means a lot to me, because you don't get this opportunity at all in this league. Eight years I've been here. It's not a crazy amount, but eight years I've been in the league, I never even thought I could win a championship with the teams I was on. And this team I feel a lot different about, and I just want to push us to that position.”
Morris’ comments Saturday hit like a bombshell on the heels of what many have dubbed the worst loss of the Brad Stevens era. The Celtics kicked away a 28-point lead while falling to the Clippers, on the heels of fumbling away a double-digit lead before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers two nights earlier on Rajon Rondo’s first career buzzer-beater.
Morris noted how coach Brad Stevens might have preferred his comments stay behind closed doors but Stevens said he was fine with Morris venting so long as he attached his name to his quotes.
“One of the things that we say at the very beginning of the year is that we don’t want to be a team quoted of unnamed sources. So if you’re going to say something, you’ve got to put your name next to it,” said Stevens. "And Marcus’ frustrations were obvious and evident, and you know what, in a lot of ways, I thought he said a lot of stuff that you can’t really argue in the last two games. So we need to be a lot better than we were at finishing out games and handling adverse situations in games, and go from there. But as long as we can put our name next to it, I’m good.”
Celtics veteran big man Al Horford said the team addressed Morris’ comments on Monday and the team was moving forward.
"It's not fun when we're not playing the right way,” said Horford. "I just think it was a tough one. In the past two games, we've dominated teams at times, we just didn't come up with the results we wanted.”
Later Horford added: “I’m OK with [frustration]. I think it’s best that all these things happen now than come playoff time. … I think [the two LA losses were] a step back but I believe it will make us better in the long run.”
Morris is confident that teammates took his message the right way.
"For the most part, everybody agreed with me,” said Morris. "Coach, he thought it was the right thing to say. More to the fact of I could have basically kept that in-house and talked to my teammates, but you guys caught me at a good time. I was hot. I just spoke what was real. I didn't take it out of context or point anybody out. I just said as a whole. I just felt like we've got to enjoy this process.”
Later Morris added: "We watched the film, we watched a couple of clips, and guys understood what I was saying. Obviously, to be that caliber team, that championship team, you have to really buy in. You have to enjoy what's going on. And as I look around the league, like I said, those top teams, it seems like they enjoy what's going on, win, lose, or draw. You’re going to have some ups and downs, but you've got to have fun with it.”
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