When Gordon Hayward went down in the first game of the season against the Cleveland Cavaliers, it was a major blow for a Boston Celtics team that was expected to be in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, they still had a lot of talent and a superstar in Kyrie Irving to lead the team. Then when Irving became injured and eventually out for the remainder of the season and playoffs, it was another major blow. Due to the fact that it was such a young team, many people thought to use this as an experience for the younger players and come back next year healthy and motivated. However that has not been the case, and the Celtics are now three wins away from being in the NBA finals.
The Celtics won game one against the Cavaliers 108-83. They used a big run in the first quarter and remained pretty steady for the remainder of the game. The young players stepped up and played a big role in the game. Another player that had a huge game was Marcus Morris. Before the series started Morris said that he believed he was the best defender on Lebron James outside of Kawhi Leonard. Many people questioned why he would try to poke James before the series and light a fire under him. However, Morris is a confident player and was able to back up his talk at least for game one.
James finished with 15 points on 31 percent shooting, along with seven turnovers. Yes, Morris wasn’t on James for every possession throughout the game but he was the primary defender. He was even brought into the starting lineup to match the Cavaliers small ball lineup where he could guard James right from the start. For the 39 possessions that Morris guarded James, the Cavaliers averaged 89.7 points per 100 possessions which is a lot lower than their playoff average of 108 points per 100 possessions. It is clear that Morris did his job when it came to guarding James in game one.
Not only on the defensive side did Morris have a huge impact, but offensively he did as well. In 34 minutes of action, Morris had 21 points on 7-12 shooting and 10 rebounds. He also shot 75 percent from three-point range. Morris struggled throughout the last round of the playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers by only shooting 30.5. However, he had his best shooting night of the playoffs in game one, and we will see if this efficient shooting will carry on for the rest of the series.
Morris was huge in game one and will need to continue to be huge the rest of the series. If he can continue to hold James to what he did in game one and can add 20 points on the offensive side on efficient shooting, the Celtics will definitely have a chance to make their first NBA finals since 2010.
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