LA Clippers striker Marcus Morris Sr. was sent off at the end of the first quarter of Game 6 on Sunday for a flagrant 2 foul against Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic, a continuation of the heated rivalry that has developed between the two players in their first Western Conference round series.
As Doncic approached the basket, Morris slapped him on the right side of the head with 1:07 remaining in the quarter, knocking Doncic onto the pitch. Morris glared at Doncic as he was on the ground, and Doncic stood up to face him before players and coaches separated the two.
“I think he got sent off because he’s Marcus, to be honest,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers told ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth during the sideline interview after the first quarter. “I thought he played with the ball and his hand followed him. It happens in every game. We can’t worry about that.”
Morris, who was the Clippers’ main defender over Doncic in the series, had nine of 4 of 5 points in Game 6 before his red card.
Sources told ESPN that the Mavericks believed Morris intentionally targeted Doncic’s sprained left ankle twice in Game 5 on Tuesday, an idea Rivers called “utterly absurd.”
Morris flatly denied wanting to step on Doncic’s ankle early in the third quarter, when he jogged from the left wing after a Clippers’ shot and stepped on Doncic’s leg waiting for an inbound pass. The Mavs also asked the league office to review an unnamed landing space violation from Morris on a triple made by Doncic in the third quarter, when Morris slipped his foot under Doncic while he was in the air.
“Someone would actually really want to try and defend me by intentionally trying to hurt another player,” Morris said Wednesday. “I rely on respect, morals and hard work and my family watching [me play] this game. I approach this game with the utmost respect for every player. I’ve been in many battles with great players and never once have I ever tried to do something dirty like taking a player out of a match. … Luka is a great player for years to come, but to try and disrespect my character, I felt the need to talk about him. “
“One thing I’m not is a dirty player,” Morris added. “And I appreciate being a hard worker. I’m a respected man in this league and I hope people look at him and know me for who I am and I would never go that far, trying to hurt someone. I just think it’s absurd. and it’s just too far. “
Doncic did not directly accuse Morris of being dirty – although he raised his eyebrows and asked a reporter what he thought of Morris stepping on his injured ankle – and said he didn’t care about an explanation from an opponent who had been exchanging trash talk. with the whole series.
“I don’t want to talk to him,” Doncic said after game 5. “He’s just saying a lot of bad things to me throughout the game. I don’t want to talk to him. I just want to move on.. As I said, everyone will have their own opinion. . I just hope it wasn’t intentional. If it was intentional, it’s really bad. “