It takes a miracle before Marcus Morris Sr. not be suspended after an extra hard foul on Ja Morant
The NBA did a great job of smoothing out the rough play that the league was known for in the 1980s and 1990s. The role of ‘team enforcer’ was once as typical of The Association as passing an open layup for a three-point shot is today.
But every now and then, one of the few enforcers in the NBA shows up with a questionable play that warrants an immediate eviction or at the very least a blatant 1 foul. Such was the case on Tuesday night when Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. Yes Morant of the Grizzlies nearly beheaded with a clothesline from hell.
Regardless of the intent, that game could have resulted in much more than just a hard thud on the pitch for Morant. Watching the replay you can see that Morris, who had already suffered a technical foul in the first half, tried to grab Morant’s arm to break his fall, but the damage was done by then.
Morris never even went for the ball. He chose a hand in the face of a player who raced to the ring at full speed. In the third quarter, when the game took place, Memphis beat the Los Angeles breaks by 22 points. So this was clearly a frustration error and an attempt to slow down one of the hottest young stars in the competition.
Morris was ejected after this game and the Grizz went on to win 135-109. But this probably won’t be the last we’ll hear about this piece. Yes, Morris was ejected, but this justifies a suspension of at least one game, if not two, for Commissioner Adam Silver and the competition bureau. Remember the Malice in the palace† That started with a hard mistake in a match that had been a kind of blowout. Different circumstances, yes, and there was rivalry involved, but the competition doesn’t care. The NBA has almost no choice but to punish Morris to get the message across that these plays are still unacceptable. Basketball can be physical, but the league doesn’t want this kind of physicality to become the norm.
If the offense on Morant isn’t enough, Morris’s history will make it over the top. Morris’s mistake on Luka Dončić (above) during the first-round 2020 Orlando Bubble playoff series will likely play a role here. Along with his reputation as a team enforcer. Indeed, the sordid history of Metta World Peace (then Ron Artest) played a role in his sentence after the Palace brawl. Again, no apples for apples, but all I’m saying is this not Morris’s first time involved in such incidents. So I can almost guarantee this won’t end with just a removal from that game. I would be shocked if Commissioner Silver Morris gave anything with less than a one-match suspension.