Sports

Calling Adam Silver


Marcus Morris Sr. tries to keep Ja Morant from the hoop by attempting to remove his head from his neck.

Marcus Morris Sr. tries to keep Ja Morant from the hoop by attempting to remove his head from his neck.
Screenshot: Bally Sports

It’ll take a miracle for Marcus Morris Sr. to not be suspended after extra hard foul on Ja Morant

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The NBA has done a great job of getting rid of the rough play the league was known for in the 1980s and ’90s. The role of “team enforcer” was once as typical around The Association as passing up an open layup for a three-point shot is today.

But every now and then, one of the few enforcers left in the NBA pops up with a questionable play that warrants an immediate ejection or, at the least, a flagrant 1 foul. This was the case on Tuesday night when Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. nearly decapitated the Grizzlies’ Ja Morant with a clothesline from hell.

Regardless of the intent, that play could have resulted in far more than just a hard thud onto the court for Morant. Upon viewing the replay, you can see Morris, who had already received a technical foul in the first half, tried to grab Morant’s arm to help break his fall, but the damage had been done by then.

Morris never even went for the ball. He chose a hand to the face of a player driving to the hoop at full speed. In the third quarter, when the play occurred, Memphis was beating the breaks off Los Angeles by 22 points. So, this was clearly a frustration foul and an attempt at slowing down one of the hottest young stars in the league.

Morris was ejected after this play, and the Grizz went on to win, 135-109. But this probably isn’t the last we’ll hear about this play. Yes, Morris was ejected, but this warrants at least a one-game suspension, if not two, from Commissioner Adam Silver and the league office. Remember the Malice at the Palace? That started with a hard foul in a game that had been kind of a blowout. Different circumstances, yes, and there was a rivalry involved, but the league doesn’t care about any of that. The NBA almost has no choice but to punish Morris in order to send the message that these plays are still unacceptable. Basketball can be physical, but the league doesn’t want this type of physicality to become the norm.

If the foul on Morant isn’t enough, Morris’ history will put it over the top. The foul Morris committed on Luka Dončić (above) during the 2020 Orlando Bubble first-round playoff series will likely come into play here. Along with his reputation as a team enforcer. Metta World Peace’s (Ron Artest at the time) sordid history indeed came into play with his punishment after the Palace brawl. Again, not apples to apples, but all I’m saying is this isn’t Morris’ first time being involved in this type of incident. So, I can almost guarantee that this won’t end with just an ejection from that game. I’d be shocked if commissioner Silver gifts Morris with anything less than a one-game suspension.

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