Ty Lue is not one to mince words. The Los Angeles Clippers coach spoke to the media prior to his team’s third game in the Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz. Falling 0-2 in the series, the Clippers, who had one of the best three-point shooting teams in NBA history this season, didn’t exactly display their skills in that area over the first two games against the Jazz.
Two Clippers in particular — Paul George (5-of-14) and Marcus Morris Sr. (1-14) — were more off than others from downtown, with Morris shooting a ridiculously bad .071 from beyond the arc.
Lue revealed before Game 3 — which L.A. won — that he talked to Morris specifically about his shooting — and the Clips coach did not hold back.
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Lue to Morris: ‘Make a Damn Shot’
The Clips coach revealed what he said to his forward when they discussed Morris’ recent cold streak. “I talk to him. I talk to him. Tell him, Make a damn shot, you know?” Lue said with a chuckle, before getting a tad more serious.
“But just step up, be confident, take a shot. Don’t hesitate. We know he does have really a quick release but just take your shots. I don’t care if you make one or miss them, but you’re the second best three-point shooter in the league all season long. Don’t think about it. Don’t let it get to you mentally. Just shoot the basketball. And we know he will, like he did in Game 7 of the biggest moment you can possibly be in the playoffs. So he’ll be ready to go tonight.”
As it turns out, he wasn’t quite ready yet. Morris shot 77.8 percent from downtown in the Clippers’ Game 7 win over the Dallas Mavericks in the first round, scoring 23 points in that game. He hasn’t reached double digits since.
Morris Saw Minutes Reduced in Game 3 vs Jazz
While the Clippers dominated Game 3 against the Jazz, winning 132-106, Morris saw his playing time reduced, and he didn’t attempt a three-pointer in the win, going 3-5 for six points in. 22 minutes. L.A. still coasted to victory on the shoulders of excellent performances by Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, but they’d prefer to have the Morris who showed up late in the Mavs series.
“I think we competed at a high, high level. I thought our physicality was there. I thought we did a great job rebounding the basketball. And just taking the challenge one-on-one,” Lue said after the Game 3 win.
“You always go back and see what you did wrong,” Leonard said after the Clips’ Game 3 win. “It’s about playing in the right way, knowing if we are having defensive breakdowns and seeing how we execute on the offensive end. That’s the only thing you can look at, if we are setting screens, are we running hard to our spots, and if we make shots or not, you know, you’ve got to live with it.”
Whether Morris can find his shot in the series against Utah remains to be seen, but in Game 3, the Clippers managed to take care of business without much help from the 31-year-old forward. If he can bring the same energy and accuracy he brought to Game 7 against Dallas, the Kawhi and company will be firing on all cylinders again.