Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic revealed recently that LA Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. apologized for stepping on Doncic’s left heel in game 5 of last season’s first-round playoff matchup (the All-Star was playing on a sprained left ankle).
Additionally, Doncic says he’s excited to face off with Morris once again in a few days. The Clippers and Mavericks are set for another first-round series, lining up as the no. 4 and 5 seeds respectively.
"He's a hell of a player, hell of a defender," Doncic said with his usual enthusiastic smile on Sunday night. "Trash talk is always there, and if it's not, you're not really competing. It's going to be great."
Last season, when asked about the incident, Morris claimed he didn’t intentionally target Doncic’s injury.
"I have been around for a while,” Morris said back in August of 2020, after the Clippers won the series 4-2. “I know how this thing works. If it was anybody else, I don't think it would be 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."
Morris will likely be given the defensive assignment of guarding Doncic to begin the series, but Clippers Head Coach Tyronn Lue says he plans on throwing many different looks at him.
“We can’t let [Doncic] be comfortable,” Lue said during Sunday night’s postgame press conference when asked about his team’s playoff opponent. “Just keep mixing it up throughout the course of the game. Blitz him a little bit...switching on him a little bit. We want to keep him off balance as much as possible.”
The series is sure to be dicey, though it is still unclear when it will tip off; as of writing this, the NBA has yet to reveal the schedule for the first round of the playoffs.