LOS ANGELES — Mook is back, and none too soon.

The Clippers — 10-8 entering Friday’s day-after-Thanksgiving matinee against the 4-14 Detroit Pistons at Staples Center — have been short-handed all season. By Spotrac’s count, they’ve had players miss a combined 80 games, third most in the NBA behind the Orlando Magic (93) and Lakers (83).

They’ve been without their star Kawhi Leonard (ACL) for the duration, but they’ve also played without several other key players, including Marcus Morris Sr., who appeared in two games and then missed the next 15 getting his left knee right.

“Just basically training, training my knee,” Morris explained Tuesday after he logged 31 minutes and had 10 points and five rebounds in his return to action.

“It wasn’t like nothing serious, same thing I was dealing with so they just gave me some time to like just train it and get it ready for a full season and I think I utilized the time really well and I feel great.”

Morris’ return serves as a timely reinforcement for a Clippers team that is expected to be without their go-to glue guy Nicolas Batum for at least 10 days and the next three games in accordance with the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

“It’ll probably be a lot better when Nico gets back,” Coach Tyronn Lue said before Tuesday’s overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks, when Morris logged 31 minutes and had 10 points and five rebounds in his return to action.

“For now, it’s kinda gonna be like the same role as Nico played, with a minute restriction and not being able to play him crazy minutes.”

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God bless! Happy to be back to doing what I love.

— Marcus Morris (@MookMorris2) November 22, 2021

After Tuesday’s game, his coach and teammates said he looked good and, more importantly, Morris said he felt that way, too.

“Felt good,” said the 32-year-old, who shot 4 for 12 and 2 for 7 from 3-point range against the Mavs. “Couple of shots didn’t go, but it’s a part of the game. I felt like I defended well — take a month off, I think I looked good myself. Shots will come, rhythm will come, I’m a veteran. Just felt great to be out there.”

Morris said he’s eager to contribute to what the Clippers — especially Paul George, who is averaging 26.4 points per game, fourth-most in the NBA, and also career-highs in field goal percentage (46.7%) and assists (5.3) — have had going early on, despite everyone who’s had to miss time.

“The team is very resilient, man,” Morris said. “Having guys being out and a lot of traveling, a lot of games back to back … it’s brutal, schedule’s been brutal. But it’s the NBA and I think guys did a great job. PG’s playing at an MVP level and Reggie (Jackson) is playing his (butt) off and guys around him are coming in and doing what they’re supposed to do, putting our best foot …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News


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