WALTHAM, Mass. — Boston Celtics ahead Marcus Morris — by no means brief on confidence, as his shot choice typically confirms — is able to embrace the problem of defending Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James.
On the eve of the Japanese Convention finals, Morris showered James with reward but in addition pressured how he feels he is probably the greatest within the NBA at making issues powerful on James.
“Personally, I believe I am most likely the perfect man defending him within the league, exterior of Kawhi [Leonard],” stated Morris.
Morris had been requested about defending James throughout his solely different playoff foray, with the Detroit Pistons in the course of the 2015-16 season.
“That series, it was fun. It was my first time being in the playoffs, being able to go against one of the best players in the league, if not the best. It was definitely a good time,” stated Morris. “Circumstances are a little different now. I’m a little older, a little more experienced.”
Morris may very well be tasked with defending James greater than another Boston participant, though the Celtics have hinted they are going to ship a wide range of our bodies James’ means. In the course of the common season, solely Jaylen Brown logged extra matchups (56) than Morris (55) in opposition to James, in line with Second Spectrum knowledge. Morris performed in solely two of Boston’s three video games in opposition to Cleveland.
James put up 24 factors on Eight-of-16 capturing with 10 assists and just one turnover when defended by Morris throughout these 55 matchups, in line with Second Spectrum. The Cavaliers averaged 116.Four factors per 100 possessions when Morris and James had been matched up.
In Boston’s lone win over the Cavaliers in the course of the common season, Morris did restrict James to 13 factors on Four-of-11 capturing (36.Four p.c) over 30 possessions and was Boston’s best choice that day.
Morris made certain to notice that it should take a group effort to restrict James’ impression on the sequence.
“There’s not going to be one guy that’s going to be able to defend him. He’s the best player in this game,” stated Morris. “My thing is just cut down the easy baskets. Cut down the easy baskets, and cut down the other guys that are going to score. We can’t have [James’ supporting cast] having 30-point games and 20-point games, and I think that gives us the best chance to win, because he’s going to do what he’s going to do, but as long as we make it tough for him and don’t give up the easy ones.”
Morris advised the Toronto Raptors did not provide a lot resistance throughout Cleveland’s Spherical 2 sweep.
“I think in the Toronto series, no disrespect to them, but watching film, it just looked very easy at times. He looked very confident. He was getting to different places on the court,” stated Morris. “And there was no help. I didn’t see no physicality, I didn’t see any of that. I think that’s something different that we will bring to the table.”
Requested if James has the power to interrupt groups together with his skills, Morris stated he would not enable that to occur to him.
“I’ve never really been at a point where, s—, anybody’s ever broken me with shots or anything like that,” stated Morris. “I think he’s probably broken Toronto, if that’s what you were referring to. S—, I think Indiana did a great job against Cleveland in that [first-round] series. Unfortunately, Toronto got swept, but like I said in the beginning, it looked very easy. He looked very confident. Obviously, he’s always confident, but the things that he did, it looked too easy to me.”
The Celtics acquired Morris from the Pistons this summer time in a deal the place the group despatched out Avery Bradley. It each cleared cap area for Boston to signal Gordon Hayward and gave Boston one other versatile defender to throw at James.
“That’s one of the things [Celtics GM/president of basketball operations Danny Ainge] said when I first got here, that I was one of the guys they felt as though could guard LeBron,” stated Morris. “So they really wanted me here, and not only because of that, just the toughness and things like that. But that was definitely one of the major points that he brought up when getting me here.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens has pressured that one participant alone cannot be tasked with slowing James.
“Totally a collective effort,” stated Stevens. “Marcus is a big, strong, competitive guy, but you have to guard LeBron as a team. LeBron’s a special player, and they have really good players around him.”