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Marcus Morris reacts to ejection, hard foul on Luka Doncic

Luka Doncic, Marcus Morris, Mavs, Clippers

The LA Clippers defeated the Dallas Mavericks in Game 6 of their first round playoff series and advanced to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. Just like it did in seemingly every game this series, there were fireworks between Clippers forward Marcus Morris and Mavs star Luka Doncic.

Morris was ejected late in the first quarter for committing a hard foul around the rim on a driving Doncic.

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers called it a ‘reputation throwout’ after the game, and said it wasn’t anything more than a hard foul on a star player.

“I don’t think he should have been thrown out, but listen, I’m biased.” Rivers said postgame. “I thought he made a play on a ball and he hit him on the head. It happens all game. I think it was a reputation throughout, but you’ve just got to live with it. I love Marcus’s intensity. Yeah, he’s a tough guy. He’s not backing down and I love that.”

Marcus Morris spoke to members of the media after the game, saying he thought the officials had to make that call.

“I thought it was a hard foul, ended up getting him above his shoulders,” Marcus Morris said of the foul on Luka Doncic. “They had to make that call. I think, honestly, just we had a lot of back and forth this series. It was a hard-fought series. I just don’t want people to mistake playing basketball, playing hard with trying to hurt somebody.”

In Game 5, Tim Hardaway Jr. had a similar foul on Paul George in terms of the follow through motion. Hardaway Jr. swiped downwards at George, hitting him on the wrist and the ball, but followed through and ultimately smacked him on the face. George took exception to that foul and it was ruled a flagrant foul penalty one.

“I think Tim Hardaway had an extremely hard foul with PG last game and it wasn’t taken into account. It is what it is. It’s a good team. He’s a great young player for years to come. I am excited to see how his career plays out. But happy for our team, happy for our win.”

This was the third or fourth run in between the two players this series that got attention. The two first had an exchange in Game 1, which both players said was much ado about nothing. It did, however, result in the ejection of Mavs’ forward Kristaps Porzingis.

The two also had a run in during Game 5, when Morris stepped on Doncic’s injured ankle, resulting in the Mavs’ star losing his balance and his shoe. After the game, Morris said it wasn’t intentional, and took exception to anyone who thought it was. Doncic also said he wasn’t sure if it was intentional, but that he hoped it wasn’t.

In Game 6, Luka Doncic appeared ready to fight Morris for what he’d considered dirty play most of the series. After the game, Doncic reacted to another foul that he believes crossed the line.

“Terrible foul,” Doncic said. “Two games in a row he did something like that. I really hoped the first one wasn’t on purpose but looking back at the foul this game, you know what I think. I don’t want to deal with that kind of player.”

Morris doesn’t think that foul would’ve been called a flagrant foul penalty two if it was anyone else.

“Like I said, he’s a young player, he’s going to be the face of the league in a while, I’ve taken into account of all that,” Morris added. “I have been around for a while, I know how this thing works. If it was anybody else, I don’t think it would taken out of context that way. It is what it is. I am a grown man, I stand on my own, like I said, I didn’t mean to step on his ankle. They can say the stuff that they want to say, this and that, on Twitter, whatever they want to say, they can say it, I am going to continue to play, happy that my team is in the second round.”

Many have called for a suspension, or a league investigation at the very least, into Marcus Morris’ antics throughout this first round series. While anything is probably on the table, Morris doesn’t think anything done has warranted a suspension in the playoffs.

“Honestly I don’t think it escalated to that level. It is not like I didn’t touch any of the ball. I didn’t wind up, I didn’t do any of that. It was a hard foul [to prevent] an and-one. Unfortunately, I hit him above the shoulders and that is the rule in the NBA, you go above the shoulder, it becomes a flagrant-2. But nah, I don’t think so, I hope not. Guys are playing hard and we are sacrificing, I don’t think these guys should sit nobody out, especially for games of these caliber.”

NBA referee crew chief Scott Foster answered some questions for reporters postgame, saying the foul was deemed unnecessary and excessive, which is why it was upgraded to a flagrant foul penalty two, but that the officials did not factor in previous tension between the two in the series.

Doc Rivers believes the adversity the Clippers faced in the first round will ultimately be best for them, and Morris agrees.

“I think it was great for us. We’ve been in a lot of different scenarios in this series playing against a great young team that plays hard and we’ve been up and we’ve gotten better at closing games because Game 3 we were up 20 and we let them battle back. So I think there’s always adversity when you’re trying to get the main goal and I thought we kept it together. We got better as we went and I’m excited to see how we can carry this over to the second round.”

Marcus Morris finished with nine points and one rebound on 4-of-5 shooting in just 11 minutes of play. He was arguably the best and most physical defender the Clippers were able to throw at Luka Doncic in an attempt to preserve both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for the offensive end of the floor.

The Clippers now take on the winner of the Denver NuggetsUtah Jazz series. Game 6 of that series, which the Jazz lead 3-2, is Sunday night at 5:30PM PST. Should Utah close out, the Clippers and Jazz will play Game 1 of their series on Tuesday night.