The Boston Celtics knew that if they wanted to get to the NBA Finals they needed someone to stop LeBron James. In Game 1 Marcus Morris showed the basketball world that he is that guy.
When the Boston Celtics acquired Marcus Morris in an offseason trade with the Detroit Pistons they acquired him for one main reason. His ability to stop one of the best basketball players of all time.
Morris is known as the Lebron stopper.
Entering the series Morris was hyped to once again go up against the “King” and didn’t mince words when talking about his supreme defensive ability.
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"“Personally, I think I’m probably the best guy defending him in the league, outside of Kawhi [Leonard],”"
Even though this is a bold claim the stats back Morris up. With far less talent in Detroit, Morris held James to under 23 points a game in the playoffs. That’s pretty impressive seeing that James career playoff average last year was just under 29 points a game. It isn’t just shooting either. Morris seems to affect Lebron’s entire offense. He causes Lebron to have fewer assists and rebounds.
In Game 1 Morris threw away the key
Lebron was shut down in Game 1. James only had 15 points 7 rebounds and 9 assists. “King” James also had a -32 with 7 turnovers which was the worst rating of the entire game. The unstoppable force finally met an immovable object.
Now even though Morris was the one to say he would shut down Lebron he doesn’t want to take all the credit.
"“It’s a team effort, man, it’s not just me,” Morris said. “Everybody played their part in guarding him. He’s obviously the best player in the game, and you need multiple guys and a team to guard him an entire game. I just think we did a great job of that.”"
Morris made Lebron work and so did the rest of the Celtics. That’s going to be an important part of the series. ESPN Senior Writer and Lebron James fanboy Brian Windhorst penned an essay a week ago about how James is so effective cause he walks, and rests during games. It’s pretty hard to rest when you have Morris and the Celtics up in your grill every play.
To put in perspective how great Morris was on Sunday let’s look at Lebron’s numbers so far this postseason. Before game 1 he was averaging 34 points a game. Holding him to 15 points is quite the feat.
The Celtics completely dominated the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday. Somehow without Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, this team is flourishing. I can’t believe that it is possible that this team can make it to the NBA Finals.
If Marcus Morris keeps Lebron in his pocket the road to the Finals got a whole lot easier.