Marcus Morris Sr. had a slow start to the postseason. He shot 5-of-17 from the field in the first two games, both losses, making 2-of-11 threes, and he wasn’t really impacting the game in other ways. Game 3 was off to a similar start, as Morris made 1-of-3 shots in 17 minutes, and the Clippers were outscored by 11 with him on the court.
Fortunately, Morris got a lifeline at halftime. His twin brother Markieff called him during the break, reminded him he was the best shooter in the world, and told him to let if fly. The Clipper forward ended up making 5-of-6 shots in the second half including all three 3-pointers.
Morris had good nights in Game 4 and 5 after that, but then went cold again in Game 6, though his defensive responsibility on Boban Marjanović certainly made up for the fact that he couldn’t hit shots. This time, instead of a phone call, his brother decided an in-person visit would do the trick. With the Lakers eliminated from the playoffs. Markieff was free to come sit courtside for Game 7, and boy did Marcus look comfortable with his twin (and former Kansas teammate Thomas Robinson) in the building.
“That’s just normal for us,” Marcus said after Game 7. “Win, lose or draw, either team, family’s first. He’s going to always come out and support me as I do for him.”
Morris set a personal postseason career-high with seven 3-pointers, in the process tying Stephen Curry for the NBA record of most threes in a Game 7. His triples all seemed to come at the most opportune moments, whether that was when the Clippers had just made a defensive miscue and needed a reset, or when the team was trying to capitalize on the non-Luka Dončić minutes.
Morris also hit what was likely the biggest shot of the game in the third quarter. The Clippers had quickly blown their halftime lead and were suddenly trailing by five after once leading by eight. Morris hit a wing three to pull within two, and that completely changed the momentum in L.A.’s favor.
After the game, Marcus said that it helped that his brother was telling him little things he saw during the game. It wasn’t an accident that Markieff’s presence coincided with his best game of the series.
As it turns out, Markieff’s presence has led to some of Marcus’s finer shooting performances of the season. In the three games Marcus has played with his twin in the building — two regular-season contests against the Lakers and Game 7 — Marcus is averaging 18.3 points while shooting 20-of-34 from the field and 12-of-15 on threes. The Clippers also outscored their opponents by 55 points in his 85 minutes in those three games.
For the regular season as whole, Marcus averaged 13.4 points per game while shooting 47.3 percent on threes — the second-best figure in the league, but nowhere near 80 percent.
The key going forward for Marcus as the Clippers prepare to face Utah is clear: make sure his brother is front and center for every game, ready to support his Marcus in his quest to get his own championship ring.
More news for Monday:
- Here is the schedule for the Clippers’ second-round series against the Jazz. Every game will be played on one day of rest.
- Marc Spears got up with Markieff Morris to get his perspective on Marcus’ Game 7 heroics.
- Ramona Shelburne explains how the Clippers knew they were ready for the moment.
- Rob Mahoney argues that it will benefit the Clippers in the long run that this series didn’t go according to plan.
- The NBA coaching carousel is officially spinning. Brad Stevens is looking for his replacement in Boston, Terry Stotts is out in Portland, and Steve Clifford has parted ways with Orlando.
- Clippers assistants Dan Craig and Chauncey Billups will likely be at the top of the lists for those three jobs. Kevin Arnovitz also gives some detail about the hiring process that led to Ty Lue taking over last offseason.
- Ethan Strauss has some ideas on how the NBA can market an elite eight of teams that hasn’t won a title since 1983.