Celtics moving on after addressing Marcus Morris’ harsh comments
The Boston Celtics suffered perhaps their most embarrassing loss of a vexing season on Saturday, when they surrendered a 28-point advantage to the Los Angeles Clippers at TD Garden in the first game after Doc Rivers’ team traded away its best player. After the game, which ended with a smattering of boos raining down from the partisan rafters, Marcus Morris made headlines by saying he was less concerned with the loss than the fact his team isn’t having fun playing together – a frank assessment of chemistry concerns that have dogged this team since the season tipped off in mid October.
At shootaround on Monday morning, Al Horford expressed optimism that an ensuing discussion of Morris’ comments and fallout from the Celtics’ recent play would ultimately make them better.
Al Horford said the team addressed Marcus Morris’ comments this morning and are moving on. Al said the two LA losses were bad but will make the team better in the long run.
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) February 11, 2019
Morris went a step further, ensuring his teammates understood he was just speaking the truth.
Marcus Morris on his comments: “To me it was just speaking real.” Said his teammates accepted it because they know what he’s about.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) February 11, 2019
Boston was supposed to be immune from the perils of the “disease of more,” a phrase popularized by Pat Riley in the 1980s after his first title with the Los Angeles Lakers. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier nearly took the injury-depleted Celtics to the NBA Finals last season, but would nevertheless need to take a step back in 2018-19 given the health of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Would those talented youngsters be happy sacrificing touches and minutes to maximize their team’s chance at winning a title this season after enjoying so much unexpected success last spring?
To be clear, the players most affected by Boston’s surplus of talent haven’t indicated much otherwise over the season’s first four months. But Irving, who will miss Tuesday’s game against the new-look Philadelphia 76ers with a sprained right knee, has publicly alluded to the Celtics’ youth negatively impacting them on multiple occasions, and Morris’ critique over the weekend only fueled that burning fire.
Is Boston really ready to move on from this would-be controversy? We’ll begin to find out tomorrow.