Marcus Morris doesn’t lack for confidence.
“We’re coming. You would be a fool to count us out of anything,” Morris told NBC Sports Boston after the Celtics eliminated the Sixers last round.
Cleveland, however, presents a new level of challenge, mainly in the form of LeBron James. One of the greatest players ever to lace them up, still playing at the peak of his game, he can both drop 40+ on an opponent, or shred them with his passing to get Kevin Love, Kyle Korver and the rest of the team going. Or both. Boston is likely going to throw a lot of different defenders at LeBron, Morris among them — and did I mention Morris does not lack for confidence?
It’s not going to be just one guy, and it can’t be just one look with LeBron. He has to see some doubles (from unexpected angles ideally), an occasional trap, some one-on-one, and the help has to be ready as does the person helping the helper. Boston, much more than the Cavs’ first two opponents (Indiana and Toronto) can do just that. Boston is five guys on a string right now, moving in unison, and they are going to cut off a lot of what worked and got Love and Korver going last round.
Over the first game or two, expect Brad Stevens to try Morris, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, and probably others on LeBron. The Celtics have a lot of bodies to throw at LeBron and a lot of fouls to use to slow him down.
Is that enough? And even if the Celtics can slow LeBron and keep the rest of the Cavaliers in check, can Boston score enough to win four out of seven?
It’s a lot to ask, but the Celtics have surprised the first two rounds.
And they have the secret weapon of Marcus Morris.