Celtics

Start of playoffs, like the start of the regular season, Marcus Morris getting buckets for Celtics

Start of playoffs, like the start of the regular season, Marcus Morris getting buckets for Celtics

BOSTON -- The way the regular season ended, no one had a feel for what to expect from Marcus Morris. 

What began as a breakout season for the eight-year veteran soon swooned into a ton of missed shots, being shifted back to the bench and because of that, lots of uncertainty as to what to expect in the playoffs. 

Still, as we saw in the Celtics' Game 1 win, Morris opened the postseason in a similar fashion to how he began the regular season - getting buckets. 

And while it would make sense if the extended time off between the last regular season game and Game 1 against Indiana helped, Morris is quick to say that his play of late has little to nothing to do with being more rested. 

“It’s the playoffs,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston. “The regular season, I’m not really worried about what happens during the regular season and how I play.”

And while his numbers certainly took a dip once the calendar flipped to January, his total body of work this season speaks to how good he can be when the opportunity to play decent minutes presents itself. 

This season, Morris averaged 13.9 points while registering career highs shooting (44.7% from the field) along with grabbing a career-best 6.1 rebounds per game.

And his numbers against Indiana in the regular season?

Even better. 

Appearing in four games against the Pacers this season, Morris averaged 15.8 points while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from 3-point range.

In Boston’s 84-74 Game 1 win, Morris scored 20 points, sharing team-high scoring honors with Kyrie Irving. 

The 6-foot-9 Morris has been asked to play a good chunk of power forward this season. That's allowed him to be in position to exploit mismatches on offense. 

Second Spectrum data from Sunday indicated that of Morris’ 20 points, 15 came while being defended by Domantas Sabonis (eight points in nine possessions) and Myles Turner (seven points in nine possessions), Indiana’s primary power forwards, who also play center. 

“I think all year I had matchups in my favor,” Morris said.

Because the Celtics have a number of offensively-skilled players who can also take advantage of mismatches, Morris understands that sometimes he’ll have to pass up attacking to instead allow one of his teammates to make the most of what may be an even more favorable advantage for Boston. 

“It’s not about me,” Morris said before adding, “It’s about getting the best shot for the team. If I do have a matchup where I can create and knock down shots, find the open man or shoot…I’m a basketball player just making basketball plays.”

While Irving and the rest of the Celtics struggled to score early Sunday, it was Morris’ early scoring (he had 12 points in the first quarter) that kept the C's within striking distance. 

“He brings us toughness, but his mind as well as his experience, he knows how to play hard,” Irving said, recalling Morris’ postseason play in 2016 when he played for Detroit and Irving was in Cleveland. “We pretty much know what to expect from each other when the intensity rises, the quote-unquote, pressure rises as well.”

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Breakfast Podcast, July 18, 2019: July 18, 2019: Chris Sale gets his first win at Fenway in 2019

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Breakfast Podcast, July 18, 2019: July 18, 2019: Chris Sale gets his first win at Fenway in 2019

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01:33: After revealing that he had a, “pretty good idea,” that Kyrie would be leaving in March or April, Danny Ainge clarified his comments to say it was always a possibility Kyrie would stay. A. Sherrod Blakely, Trenni Kusnierek, and Kyle Draper discuss his clarification and predict who the new leader in the C’s locker room will be.

07:11: After Enes Kanter showed off his personality during Celtics introduction, we wonder what will he be bringing to Boston not only on the court but off the court as well.

12:30: Finally, Lou Merloni joins Tom Giles and Michael Holley to discuss Chris Sale’s comeback at Fenway- getting his first win at home in 2019.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Report: Celtics sign guard Max Strus to two-way contract

Report: Celtics sign guard Max Strus to two-way contract

After signing Javonte Green to a partially guaranteed deal on Thursday, the Celtics reportedly made another move.

Boston signed guard Max Strus to a two-way contract, per Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports.

Strus averaged 9.7 points in Celtics Summer League and shot 45 percent from beyond the arc. He averaged 20.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season with DePaul.

C's fans will have their fingers crossed that Tacko Fall will be the next to sign a new contract. According to Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, they're trying to get a deal done with the 7-foot-7 phenom.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.