The Celtics and Wizards have been after each other all year long. From the “boop” game to the “funeral” game, things have been brewing for a while. So far this is just an old fashioned rivalry where both teams genuinely seem to have a dislike for each other.
Don't be surprised if Wizards-Celtics gets feisty during this series. There's been beef brewing for over a year: pic.twitter.com/1I0jJAOPCq— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 2, 2017
However, as the series drags on, tensions are getting higher and both sides are starting to get hotter under the proverbial collar.
Markieff Morris (or is that Marcus?) has been particularly vocal, before, during, and after the games. It seems like every time a Wizard gets hurt (no matter how inadvertently it happens) Morris is out looking for his pound of flesh. He confronted Al Horford before tipoff and even threw him into the baseline stands early in the game. Not sure how many noticed this, but he also threw an elbow in the vicinity of Isaiah Thomas’ head (see the clip below) which got Thomas worked up.
Thomas, of course, got the last laugh by abusing Morris whenever he was unfortunate enough to have to guard Isaiah. Markieff had no answer for Thomas and Isaiah let him know it in no uncertain terms.
So after the game ended, Morris had one message for his teammates: Get tougher.
We’re not playing tough enough.
To be fair, he was talking mostly about getting to 50-50 balls and tracking down loose balls.
“We had the advantage late in the game and all we had to do was just play tough. We didn’t have to make shots. We didn’t have to get stops. All we had to do was play tough. We let them get offensive rebounds late in the game. Guys (were) just walking to the basket and we’re just worried about our own personal (expletive). It’s about the team.”
“We emphasized (getting 50-50 balls) when we watched film that that’s what they do when they go (with a smaller lineup),” Morris said. “They play tough. They’ve got guys that are going in head first. That’s what we’ve got to do. It’s the playoffs. Every possession counts.”
What worries me (to a certain extent) is this continual emphasis on toughness. I don’t follow Morris closely throughout the year, but Bullets Forever warned us early on:
A team with Markieff Morris on it will always be involved in extracurricular activities.
This is something to keep an eye on. I would hope that nobody is actively trying to harm the players on the other team, but you never know. A lot of players are getting bumps, bruises, hip pointers, turned ankles, and blood gushing from their noses already in this series. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a little more.
Let’s hope it doesn’t involve a fight that could very well impact the series with suspensions and/or injuries. That would be a shame because thus far this has been a hard fought but very entertaining basketball series.