There were tons of frustrating moments during the Mavericks beatdown at the hands of the Clippers in Game 5 on Tuesday night, but the one that stings the most is the play involving Marcus Morris and Luka Doncic.
If you somehow don’t remember, Morris stepped on Doncic’s left ankle, the same one Doncic sprained in Game 3 that forced him to miss most of that game. Doncic returned heroically in Game 4 to carry the Mavericks but it was obvious in both that game and in Game 5 that the ankle was bothering him. He winced a lot throughout each game when putting pressure on his left foot, which makes this Morris play feel extremely egregious.
Reminder: the Clippers were up 30 at this point.
An NBA basketball court is 4,700 square feet, and Marcus Morris steps directly on Luka’s publicly injured left ankle... coincidence? You tell me. pic.twitter.com/U6Mfb2fD5e— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) August 26, 2020
“I saw it. I certainly hope that was not the case,” Rick Carlisle said after the game. “That’s all I’ll say about it.”
Luka Doncic tried to play it straight and rational after the game, but his frustration was evident. He even asked the reporters in the room with him if they thought it was intentional before saying he didn’t want to hear what Morris had to say.
“I don’t want to talk to him. He’s just saying a lot of bad stuff to me, throughout the game. I don’t want to talk to him and I just got to move on,” Doncic said. “I just hope it wasn’t intentional. If that was intentional, that was really bad.” The video really sells Doncic’s feelings about it, I think.
"I don't want to talk to him. He's just saying a lot of bad stuff to me... I just hope it wasn't intentional. If that was intentional.. that's really bad."— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) August 26, 2020
Luka Doncic addresses Marcus Morris stepping on his injured ankle in game 5. @dallasmavs | #WholeNewGame pic.twitter.com/CqhqxWEAfM
Whether or not it was intentional, this alternate sideline angle of the play is really bad. The referees are looking right at Doncic when it happens and regardless of if Morris did it with intent, they needed to step in and call a foul or just do something.
Morris, for his sake, said he didn’t mean to do it. Let’s just say his track record doesn’t help this defense.
@EmmanuelAcho You don’t know me fam, to even think I would go that far to hurt a player is outta pocket. I play this game because I love it. 10 years and been going against the best since day one. Stop all that bs champ— Marcus Morris (@MookMorris2) August 26, 2020
I play this game with a level of respect for myself and other players. To think I would try to injure somebody is crazy to me. 10 years going against the best. I stand on morals and hard work. I compete and leave it out there every game.— Marcus Morris (@MookMorris2) August 26, 2020
We’ll see what the NBA has to say about this. It’s definitely not a good look, regardless of intent. There could be ramifications for Game 6 if the NBA decides to suspend Morris. I doubt it, but stranger things have happened in the NBA.