Markieff Morris finally showed up in the second round helping the Los Angeles Lakers overcome the Houston Rockets.
When the Los Angeles Clippers pulled out a trade to obtain New York Knicks’ best player Marcus Morris at the deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers hurried to get his twin brother Markieff in the buyout market, hoping to add a similar contributor to their playoff run.
Unfortunately, he did not have much time to mesh with his new teammates, as the season was shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. When it restarted in the bubble, Morris was the last to rejoin the team and did not receive much playing time in the seeding games to acclimate with the new environment, new team and resumed activity.
In the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers, he was somewhat of a disappointment, getting steady playing time but failing to perform.
He was an enforcer off the bench, useful to battle Portland’s frontline, counting Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside in its rank, but he failed to really make an impact on the series. This was not certainly all on him, given the forced hiatus and the limited time he had to get back into the game, basically with a new team.
But in the second round, Markieff managed to turn things around. After a disappointing loss in Game 1, his playing time increased for the rest of the series and this time he did not fail to deliver. He gave a major contribution in Game 2, scoring 16 points on 4-for-5 from three. His light-out shooting sparked the Lakers’ early lead in the first half that basically gave them the victory.
From that point, he never looked back. Although in Game 3 he had another let down offensively, he was still instrumental on the defensive end, finishing the game +10 in plus/minus nevertheless.
For the following two games, Frank Vogel also moved him into the starting lineup, deciding to go small. In the decisive Game 5 he had another spectacular performance scoring 16 points on 6-for-7 from the field and 4-for-4 from beyond the arc.
From Game 2 through 5 he had a combined +55 plus/minus, contributing to a sweep with averages of 10.8 points and 4 rebounds, shooting 52.9 percent from three.
Morris really took his game to another level in the second round, showing the player Rob Pelinka hoped to have signed in February. As the Los Angeles Lakers head to the Conference Finals, it is fundamental that he keeps playing the way he has lately.
In all probability, they will face the Clippers, and Kieff will find himself in a matchup against his brother Marcus, two similar players (on the court as much as they look) who can have a say on the game result when you do not expect it.