BOSTON — The Boston Celtics will be without one of their best players so far this season on Wednesday: Marcus Morris, who has been perhaps the most consistent offensive threat coming off the bench.
The Celtics ruled Morris out hours before the game due to illness. Brad Stevens wasn’t sure what the illness was, but he said Morris had been feeling sick before he left the practice facility on Tuesday.
“It’s a loss every night when you don’t have one of the guys who’s playing at the level he’s playing at,” Stevens said. “This is about us all getting back to playing the way we want to play, and doing it for 48 minutes. Whether he’s here or not, it’s about whoever is playing doing it. That’s our challenge. We’re better with Marcus, no question about it, we want him back ASAP.”
Even in Morris’ absence, Stevens said the Celtics hope to establish some sort of consistent rhythm.
“We haven’t been mediocre — we’ve either been bad or good,” Stevens said. “There’s been no in between. We have to work harder to be the better version of ourselves. We’ve put a lot of time into it. We’ll see what happens.”
Other pre-game notes:
– Stevens has been impressed by Bulls rookie Wendell Carter, who has drawn comparisons to Al Horford.
“I thought he was a steal where they got him, because I think that he looks like he has a great understanding of how to play on both ends and he’s got the skill set that’s just going to get better and better, and completely transferrable to the NBA,” Stevens said. “He can play the 4 or the 5. And I think he’s going to be really good. I think their young core is probably under-discussed, about how good they are. Obviously you start with LaVine, but when you add a Jabari Parker, you got some of the guys that are hurt, you’ve got Carter, I think (Antonio) Blakeney is a guy that can put points up in a hurry but not a lot of people talk about. I think they’ve done a really good job and may be somewhat under-discussed.”
– According to the team, Robert Williams was assigned to join the Maine Red Claws this weekend. The Red Claws have games Thursday and Friday before several days off. Williams could get significant reps before rejoining the team after Friday’s game against the Toronto Raptors, in which he is unlikely to play major minutes.
– Despite a small amount of chatter about it — and Gordon Hayward’s claim that he would be fine with the move — Stevens said he wouldn’t change his starting lineup entering Wednesday’s game.
“The thing I appreciate about our team is that anybody would say that,” Stevens said. “And feel that, and be willing to do it, because we have a bunch of good guys on this team. Whether good or bad as far as coming back from the injury, if we deem that it’s the right thing, then we’ll do that. But right now, it’s let’s see if we can play better. We’ve had some tough starts, and then we’ve had some great starts. It goes back to either being bad or good, with no in between. Let’s see if we can’t establish ourselves to play a little better, and as the season goes on we’ll have to make more of those decisions. If you’re really good and get to play in the playoffs, that’s pretty much a daily occurrence.”
– Just a heads up to the Bulls:
Marcus Smart was fascinated watching this in the Celtics’ locker room. https://t.co/WAnW59EjEk
a Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) November 14, 2018
The Celtics and Bulls tip off at 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston.