Morris’ Offensive Prowess:
After averaging just 3.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1 assist in the Lakers’ first-round match-up against the Portland Trail Blazers, Morris’ numbers bumped up against the Rockets. Through 5 games against Houston, his points average elevated to 8.6 points, alongside 3.2 rebounds, and 1 assist. He finished the series shooting an impressive 41% from 3-point land.
Morris’ shooting from range was something that Laker fans were aware of, but it hadn’t been on show as the postseason arrived. He did shoot at a respectable 35% in the Portland series, although the 6-foot-8 power forward’s game jumped up even further against the Rockets.
In-fact, he did lead the entire Lakers roster in offensive rating (122.7), with Danny Green (119.5) and LeBron James (117.1) sitting second and third.
In game 2, whilst coming off the bench, Morris lit up for 12 points in the first quarter, as he drained 4 straight 3-pointers. He ended up finishing the game with 16 points and 5 rebounds, on 6-8 shooting (4-5 3P). His ability to stretch the floor and create space for others off the bench was unprecedented and key to the Lakers’ early series success.
In his game 4 start, Morris had a relatively quiet game with 9 points on 4-10 shooting, 1-4 from beyond the arc. But it was clear to see that his mere presence was vital in a game that the Lakers dominated for the majority. Despite a late slip, the team took a 110-100 victory and a commanding 3-1 series lead.
In game 5, his offensive prowess was on full show as the Lakers gentleman swept Houston 4-1, with a 119-96 victory. On a near perfect shooting night (6-7 FG), Morris hit the 16 point mark again, draining four 3-pointers. Again, he was crucial to the flow of the offense and the speedy transitions, that saw the Lakers outscore the Rockets 17-6 on the fast-break.
However, it wasn’t just the offensive end where Markieff Morris asserted his dominance, he did on the defensive end too.