Marcus Morris expected to make Clippers debut vs. Cavs
Marcus Morris, the L.A. Clippers' newly-acquired forward, was unable to make his debut on Saturday night in Minnesota — and that's probably for the best.
The Timberwolves came into the game riding a 13-game losing streak, but that didn't stop them from pouring in 26 three-pointers en route to a 142-115 beatdown of the Clippers. It was one of the worst games that L.A. has played all season long, and the fact that both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were active makes it a bit harder to stomach.
The Clippers were outplayed from start to finish, trailing by as many as 28 points in the fourth quarter. Minnesota had the hot hand all night long, and whenever L.A. would start to chip back into the deficit, the Timberwolves would go on a run of their own to even things back out.
Fortunately, the Clippers will soon get a shot at redemption, as the team will face off with the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight at 4:30 p.m. from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. As it stands, L.A. is a 7.5-point favorite.
The Clippers are also expected to have Morris in the lineup, and he could play a big role in Leonard's presumed absence.
Before he was traded, Morris was essentially the best player the New York Knicks had on the roster. In 43 games, he averaged 19.6 points per game on 43.9 percent shooting from three-point range — currently the sixth-highest mark in the NBA. You could argue that Julius Randle is a better player overall, but given the season Morris has had thus far, it's easy to see why the ball was usually in his hands in big moments.
Morris won't be asked to replicate those numbers with the Clippers, and he knows that. Before Saturday night's game, he told Kristina Pink about his expectations with his new team, saying the following:
"I'm just doing what I can," Morris said. "Obviously we got guys that are extremely talented offensively and defensively, and I just think I add to that... I'm not coming in to try to average 19 to try to keep doing what I was doing because obviously I was on the other team and that's what was needed. I'm here to just fill a role and just help them out and bring that dog that I got with me."
On most nights, Morris will be the third-best scoring option among the starters. But when Leonard and/or George are out, he'll see a significant increase in the number of possessions he has with the ball in his hands — which is probably what we'll see against Cleveland.
George and Morris make for an exciting duo, especially in regards to their three-point shooting. Both are making over 40 percent of their attempts from deep this season, and against a team like the Cavaliers, they'll get all kinds of quality looks.
Cleveland also made a trade at the deadline to bring in former Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond. He's set to make his debut Sunday night as well, so both teams will have an extra incentive to go out and win.
Morris' last game for the Knicks was played against the Cavaliers on February 3. He went for 26 points in 36 minutes of action and knocked down 50 percent of his looks from three. If he can have a similar performance tonight, L.A. should be in good shape.