Key Forward Makes Return to Starting 5 for Clippers

Marcus Morris, Clippers

Getty Marcus Morris, Clippers

We’ve only seen Marcus Morris suit up in a Clippers uniform twice this early NBA season, and frankly, neither time went very well. Morris was active for the first two games of the season, both losses, and scored an average of 9.5 points on just 7-for-18 shooting, or 38.9%. He had just one rebound in the two games, and was 3-for-11 from the 3-point line.

Despite all that, the Clippers sure missed him, and welcomed him back with open arms on Tuesday night as the team faced Dallas for the second consecutive game on Tuesday night. Morris had missed the last 15 games with a knee injury, but coach Ty Lue popped him right back into the starting five, albeit on a minutes restriction.

Asked what Morris would bring to the team, Lue said, per Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register, “More shooting, and … a post presence. A guy who can slow the game down.”

Certainly, that is the hope for the Clippers. But they would need Morris to start posting numbers closer to what he had last season, when he averaged 13.4 points and shot 47.3% both from the field and from the 3-point line. The Clippers were the best 3-point shooting team in the league last season, at 41.1% from the arc. They’re down to 35.5% this year, 11th in the NBA.

Nicolas Batum in Health & Safety Protocols

For most of last season, Lue had to choose between two options at power forward—the rough-and-tumble Morris on one hand, or the smoother facilitator Nicolas Batum on the other. They’re both smart veterans who are excellent shooters, and the fact that Lue had trouble picking between the two, with Batum starting 38 times at power forward and Morris 29 times, says more about their strengths than their weaknesses.

The decision to start Morris against the Mavs, though, was made for Lue on Sunday, when it was revealed that Batum would be out because of the league’s health and safety protocols. Batum was originally said to be suffering an illness, but the team shortly thereafter confirmed it was COVID-19, which should keep him out for at least 10 days.

The Clippers sent those covering the team into a bit of a panic in the morning when, abruptly, they decided to cancel the pregame shootaround that had been scheduled. But LA. Officials offered assurances that the cancellation was merely for, “precautionary reasons related to health and safety protocols,” per the L.A. Times, and not because there had been a spread of COVID-19 within the team. The game against Dallas was never in jeopardy.

Serge Ibaka Back From Injury, Too

In addition to getting Morris back on the floor, the Clippers have also added center Serge Ibaka, who returned to action on Sunday after dealing with an ongoing back problem. Ibaka sat for the first right games of the season as he recovered from surgery on the back, then played 13 minutes in two games.

Serge Ibaka's Top Plays With Agua Caliente ClippersNBA veteran Serge Ibaka averaged 15.5 PTS, 9.3 REB, 2.5 AST, and 1.0 BLK in four games with the Agua Caliente Clippers. The NBA G League is the NBA's official minor league. Fans can get a glimpse at the players, coaches and officials competing to ascend to the NBA's rank. With 41 percent of players…2021-11-19T16:54:49Z

He was ineffectual and sought further rehab, which included playing in the G League for the Agua Caliente Clippers, for four games. But Ibaka made his comeback this weekend, scoring six points with four rebounds in 12 minutes played.





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