Many players impressed in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 4-1 series win over the Houston Rockets in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs, namely the superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. But another player to hit red-hot form was Markieff Morris, who stepped into the starting 5, as the Lakers opted to play small ball.
JaVale McGee started games 1-3, as he has been all season. However, with the series sitting at a fragile scoreline of 2-1, Frank Vogel placed Morris into the center position. In an attempt to snatch control of the series and progress beyond.
That is exactly what happened. Vogel’s decision to throw Morris into the fire paid off, with the Lakers taking games 4 and 5, 110-100 and 119-96, respectively. Consequently, the purple and gold advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in 10 years, since the 2010 title-winning season with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Co.
Morris’ minutes didn’t exactly increase. As his 23 and 24 minutes in games 4 and 5, were pretty much the same as in games 2 and 3, where he played 23 minutes in each. It was more him playing meaningful minutes alongside the premiere cast.
The 31-year-old flourished on both ends of the court and proved why he could be a vital piece to the Lakers’ pursuit of championship number 17. It becomes clearer by the day how much of a bargain the acquisition of Morris was. Being brought in as a free-agent, following his buyout from the Detroit Pistons in February 2020.
Cover image credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images.