Marcus Morris coming up big in the fourth quarter

Marcus Morris had his best game as a member of the Boston Celtics last night, and came up huge in the fourth quarter when the match was on the line. The Cs were up by nine going into the final period, but that lead was quickly squandered when the Brooklyn Nets went on a 10-2 run to begin the fourth. Morris didn't sweat the comeback, and scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, which sealed the 109-102 victory over the Nets, making it the team's 13th straight win. Marcus also grabbed 10 boards on the night, and recorded his first double-double as a green-shirt. 
This isn't the first time that we've seen Morris come up big at the end of games. A few days ago versus the Charlotte Hornets, he hit one of his signature, deep two-point field goals to give the Celtics a three-point lead with 23 seconds left in the game.

After a Charlotte bucket and a Celtics' miss, the game was within one point with time winding down. Hornets' star Kemba Walker received the inbound, forced a switch, leaving Marcus Smart to guard one of Charlotte's big men, and Marcus Morris to guard Kemba in the final seconds. Walker put some moves on Morris, hit him with a pump fake, and then put up the potentially game winning shot from near the elbow. Morris held his ground against the crafty Kemba, stayed with him through the shaking and baking, and avoided the foul when Walker forced him into the air with the pump. Kemba missed the shot, Terry Rozier snagged the rebound, and the Celtics pulled away for the 90-87 victory.

And again, two weeks ago when the Celtics visited the Orlando Magic, Morris scored six of his twelve points in the fourth quarter. And check out this defense on the inbound. It truly is the little things that matter.

Is it just me, or does Morris seem to be a huge upgrade over Jae Crowder? This season it's obvious, as Morris is flourishing while usually coming off of the bench. Jae on the other hand, has been struggling, and has been in and out of the Cleveland Cavaliers' starting lineup.

But let's look at the numbers. This season, Morris is averaging 13.7 points on 46.8% shooting. Crowder is putting up 8.4 points, and is shooting 38% from the field. Morris is shooting 40% from three-point range and Jae is 31.6% from deep. Morris is grabbing 5.7 rebounds per night, while Crowder is only pulling down 3.6 boards per game. The two are both averaging one assist and .7 steals per game, and while Marcus is winning all of the statistical battles, he's averaging 4 minutes less than Crowder is, with 23 minutes compared to Jae's 27 minutes.

Last season, the two had nearly identical stat-lines, but Jae was still one of the easier Cs' players to hate. He seemed to shoot too much, miss too many, and rarely did anything pretty on the floor. All the while, he was yelling and pounding on his chest and ANGRILY TWEETING TO CELTICS' FANS when they cheered for then upcoming free-agent, and current Boston Celtics' small forward, Gordon Hayward.

Jae's numbers weren't terrible, his efficiency ratings were actually pretty good, and he was one of a rare few who could kind of-sort of guard LeBron James, but still, he just wasn't a very likable Celtic. He was supposed to improve every year and become a stand-out player, but that never happened, and after years of anticipation, I think Cs' fans just got sick of it and gave up on the guy. Even with his decent numbers and slight improvement from season to season, the relationship between him and Celtics' nation never panned out. He became just another one of Danny Ainge's assets to eventually trade away for the next Cs' star, and that's exactly what he was used for.

That's me trying to justify the Jae Crowder hate that was felt when he was on the team, anyways. I was caught trying to defend him a few times, but was still one of the people yelling at the TV whenever he shot the ball.

Regardless, we've certainly upgraded with Marcus Morris. He's consistently played well, and seems to have bought in to this 'team-first' ideology that Brad Stevens has implemented. All is good in Celtics' Land as we prepare for tomorrow's matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Go Cs!

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Photo 1: NBA Sports
Photo 2: AP Images