Posts tagged with Markieff Morris
Cancel the party. Return your Pelicans T-shirts (unless you only bought them to celebrate Jeff Withey).
The reunion is over, and it ended before it ever had a chance to start.
Two days after New Orleans acquired Tyshawn Taylor in a trade with Brooklyn, reuniting him with former Kansas teammate Withey, the Pelicans waived Taylor on Thursday. He never even played a game with the team.
That's life in the NBA.
Pelicans coach Monty Williams told John Reid of NOLA.com he thought Taylor wasn't a good fit:
"We just released him so he could go somewhere else if somebody wanted to pick him up,'' Williams said.
At least one rumor out there has Taylor possibly signing with the Los Angeles Clippers, who are down a point guard with Chris Paul injured.
Withey makes most of his minutes
The waiving of Taylor might have been bad news for Withey, but the big man has to feel good about his last game. The Pelicans lost, 114-97, to Sacramento on Tuesday, but Withey played a season-high 27 minutes and the rookie big man scored 14 points — a new career high.
Nakla Hogan, of NOLA.com, wrote about Withey's breakout game, which included 5-of-6 shooting, five rebounds, two blocks and a pair of steals.
Withey told Hogan mental reps and practice work made him ready when his coach gave him an opportunity (his previous season high for minutes was 18):
"As a rookie, I've been watching where everybody is going and how other guys play, so now the game is slowing down for me a little bit when I'm out there," Withey said. "In the beginning of the year I would go out there and just run around like my head was cut off. Now I know the plays and where to be and now it's making things a lot easier."
In each of Withey's last three games, he has played at least 14 minutes. That's a far cry from the previous 30, in which he never played more than nine minutes and had several DNP's.
New Orleans has suffered some injuries in its front court, and that could give Withey a chance to establish himself as a key reserve:
"When I go out there with the second group I can bring energy. All my points (against Sacramento) was off dish offs. I don't create or anything. We have so many scorers on our team, I just have to be in the right place at the right time. It makes my job very easy."
Check out the highlight's from Withey's big night below. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up this kind of production and/or remain a part of the Pelicans' plans for the future.
Markieff Morris key to Suns' success
Throughout this season, Phoenix backup forward Markieff Morris has had a lot to do with his team's success.
It turned out he was capable of contributing to Suns losses by not playing well, too. During a recent five-game road trip, the third-year forward slumped, making just 29 percent of his shots and averaging only 6.6 points and 3.6 rebounds a game.
Suns coach Jeff Hornacek knew Morris's struggles could derail the positive momentum Phoenix (now 24-17) had created this season, as one of the NBA's more surprising teams — during the road trip, Phoenix went 1-4.
In a radio interview detailed by Vince Marotta of ArizonaSports.com, Hornacek said he spoke with the big man about busting out of the slump:
"Basically, I grabbed him after practice one day and I said 'Markieff, we need you, you're our key guy off the bench, but the only way you're going to get out of this is to play as hard as you can.' That's how you get back into it," Hornacek said. "I think guys kind of go through the motions sometimes. I think he fell a little bit back into his habit of last year -- just kind of floating around and not really running and making hard moves offensively."
Morris had no trouble responding. He's averaged 20.8 points in Phoenix's last four games (all at home), and the Suns went 3-1, with a 124-100 blowout victory over the league's top team, Indiana, on Wednesday night in Phoenix.
Morris put up 20 points against the Pacers (33-8).
Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.
In case you haven't been keeping up with the team dynamics of the defending NBA champion Miami Heat, well, Mario Chalmers gets yelled at. A lot. (See above photo of Chris "Velociraptor" Bosh in the face of his prey.)
Poor Rio. When he played at Allen Fieldhouse, thousands of adoring fans screamed for him. Now the most popular player on the planet howls at him. Look how enraged team/NBA alpha dog LeBron James gets with Chalmers during this timeout against the Indiana Pacers in late December:
Hey, don't worry about it, people. Bron was sorry.
This is nothing new for Chalmers, of course. Even Bosh, the least revered member of the Heat's "Big Three," has turned shouting distance into close-talking with the sixth-year point guard on national television…
Finally, on Tuesday, someone with clout had Chalmers' back. During the Heat's trip to the White House, when President Barack Obama honored the NBA's back-to-back champions, the commander-in-chief couldn't pass up an opportunity to give the Heat grief about the way they jump all over Chalmers.
Congratulations to Chalmers on the presidential pardon for his on-court miscues.
See. Now all the Heat are happy. Thanks, Obama.
Not so fast, Xavier
When Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Xavier Henry got diagnosed with a knee injury back on Dec. 30, the one-and-done KU product figured he would be back in the lineup within a week to 10 days.
In this update from Eric Pincus of the L.A. Times, though, it appears Henry could be sidelined longer than anticipated:
According to a team spokesman, Henry experienced knee soreness on Monday after running through an on-court workout on Sunday. Henry will spend the next several days doing non-weight-bearing exercises.
Pincus reported Henry, averaging a career best 10.1 points a game this season, doesn't have a return date anymore for the slumping Lakers (14-25).
And ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin wrote Tuesday night Henry will be out "at least a week" due to a bone bruise in the swingman's right knee.
On Monday night, Henry hinted at his frustrations via Twitter:
Markieff bounces back
After enduring a scoreless outing and an ejection in Phoenix's previous two games, Suns backup power forward Markieff Morris returned to the land of productive NBA players Wednesday with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists in the Suns' 121-114 victory over the L.A. Lakers.
The Bright Side of the Sun blog called Markieff the team's barometer — when he plays well, the Suns have success — but the big from Kansas didn't get an A+ overall:
Markieff Morris was the Suns best player early, tallying 9 points and an assist in his first 6 minutes of play. He still forced a lot of fallaways and played poor defense in the post.
And even though Markieff redeemed himself from a production standpoint, his twin Marcus (two points, three rebounds) picked up his bro's slack in the technical department, earning a whistle on this scuffle, which happened to follow a Markieff dunk, as the Suns failed to get back in transition:
Keep up with the statistical output of all the former Jayhawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.
It's been a rough couple of days in The Association for the Phoenix Suns' Markieff Morris.
First, the typically versatile big man went scoreless in a Saturday loss at Detroit.
Then on Monday at Madison Square Garden, Markieff got tossed from the Suns' game against the New York Knicks after earning his second technical foul in the second quarter.
As reported by Andrew Gilstrap at ArizonaSports.com, the first "T" came early in the second, when Kieff objected to a traveling call.
A few minutes later, after Kieff drew a foul on JR Smith while going up for a dunk attempt, he didn't like the way Smith invaded his personal space and threw Smith's arm off of him.
In case you're counting — by the way, the NBA is, because the league suspends players once they reach 16 technical fouls in a season — Markieff is halfway there, with eight.
If he keeps it up, Markieff might catch up with league leader DeMarcis Cousins, of Sacramento. Kieff's eight "T's" currently tie him for second in the NBA with the Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin. Cousins leads the way with 10.
Hey, not every former Jayhawk had a lousy Monday night. Well … actually no one was that great, either.
But, hey! Kirk Hinrich made SportCenter's Top 10. Now, given that Hinrich plays basketball and Top-10 plays usually involve monster throw-downs, you can probably guess Hinrich did something else to earn some extra TV time. I mean, it's not like Chicago Bulls fans are calling him Air Hinrich, or anything close to that.
The always heady point guard improvised on the fly against Washington, realizing mid-air, upon receiving a pass, that his best move was to keep the ball moving to an open shooter, Jimmy Butler. To add a little flair, Hinrich threw the pass behind his back.
Check it out:
McLemore looks to succeed in bench role
Sacramento rookie Ben McLemore recently learned playing time is far from a guarantee in the NBA. After starting 26 games for the Kings, coach Michael Malone decided to move the high-flying rookie to the bench following a slump.
Jonathan Santiago, at the Cowbell Kingdom blog, offers some insightful quotes on the situation.
“I think he’s pretty confident,” Malone said (last) week of McLemore. “But when you put maybe five to six games together where you’re not getting many looks, your shot’s not going in and then you’re playing against some of the two guards out here in the west and in the NBA as a whole, it’s a handful every night."
The Cowbell Kingdom piece also provided McLemore's take on adjusting to playing as a reserve.
“Same mentality,” McLemore said. “Just going out there, giving my all, doing whatever coach wants me to do offensively and defensively and just going out there and do some things to help my teammates and help the team win the game.”
Skip ahead to about the 0:15 mark of the below clip to see McLemore take out whatever frustrations he has with the situation on the rim.
In his last 10 games, McLemore has reached double figures just once, scoring 13 points on New Year's Eve against Houston.
Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports Mario Chalmers, who has missed three games with Achilles tendinitis, should be back in the Miami Heat's lineup tonight at Washington
L.A. Times Lakers beat writer Mike Bresnahan provided an update on Xavier Henry:
Xavier Henry had knee soreness today after yesterday's on-court workouts + will downgrade to non-weightbearing exercises for several days.— Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 13, 2014
- The Denver Post's Christopher Dempsey wrote that the Nuggets left for a brief road trip without Kansas product Darrell Arthur, who injured his groin on Saturday night.
Keep up with the statistical output of all the former Jayhawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.
Through the first 31 games of his NBA career, Sacramento’s Ben McLemore has made a name for himself with highlight-reel dunks.
But coming out of Kansas, most of the attention was on McLemore’s smooth jump shot. McLemore wowed with his textbook release and clutch shots, and during his one-and-done year, he shot 42 percent (73 of 174) from beyond the arc.
As the NBA draft approached, scouts and journalists never missed an opportunity to compare McLemore to the league’s all-time leader in three-pointers, Ray Allen. McLemore embraced the narrative, too. From the Orlando Sentinel, days before the draft:
"I definitely can compare myself to Ray Allen, especially with the shooting ability," McLemore said. "I don't know about the athleticism anymore. But I definitely can say I compare myself with him a lot as far as getting myself open, coming off screens and little things like that."
So far, McLemore hasn’t come close to matching the pre-draft expectations and is shooting just 34 percent (41 of 120) from three. But the lofty comparisons to Allen persist, and Kings blog CowbellKingdom.com recently went to the future Hall of Famer for the definitive answer on McLemore:
He’s a jump shooter, first and foremost. He looks like, I haven’t seen him a lot, but every shot he takes, it seems like he duplicates the first one to the next one to the one after that. He stays consistent in how he puts the ball in the air. He has great athleticism, and he uses it on his jump shot and most players now in the NBA don’t do that.
Allen — who probably resisted the urge to simply say “He Got Game” — also told CowbellKingdom that he’s impressed by 20-year-old McLemore’s fundamentals:
We’re creatures of habit. When you play sports a certain way, it’s hard to change who you are. So, he has great athleticism, (but) you can tell whoever taught him young kept him in great form with how he shoots the ball. It really has nothing to do with age because if you’re taught the fundamentals of the game when you’re 15, you’ll shoot the ball the right way – the way you’re supposed to be (shooting). It’s just we’re so surprised (when) we see players come to the NBA, professional players that don’t have the skill-set or the fundamentals that we know we should be seeing.
Nice of you to say, Ray. But as NBATV’s Trey Kerby pointed out, McLemore still has a ways to go:
Now, to live up to these kind words, all Ben McLemore has to do is play another 16 seasons, raise his three-point accuracy five percentage points while doing so, break all kinds of records, credibly appear in a major motion picture, shave his head right when it becomes time to shave his head, always look like he’s snarling even though he’s generally happy, and win two titles while also making one of the most clutch three-pointers in league history to save a championship season. Simple stuff.
For the full quotes from Allen on McLemore, head over to CowbellKingdom.com.
Happy birthday, Hinrich
Chicago guard Kirk Hinrich turned 33 years old on Thursday. To mark the occasion, Bulls blog PippenAintEasy.com compiled some of Hinrich’s best moments in red, white and black, including this dunk during his rookie season in 2004:
The ProHoopsHistory Twitter account also looked back at Hinrich’s Bulls career on Thursday:
Kirk Hinrich is 4th in total assists in 3rd in APG in the history of the Chicago Bulls. A legend in his own time
Phoenix broadcaster Tom Chambers recently sat down with Suns forwards Markieff and Marcus Morris. In the two-part interview, the twins talk quite a bit about family and their lifelong dream of playing together:
Denver’s Darrell Arthur returned reinvigorated from a two-game injury absence, Monday against Miami:
Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce wasn’t happy with his team’s effort Tuesday against San Antonio (more on that in a minute), so he took his frustration out on the rim:
And Portland’s Thomas Robinson, who hadn’t played in five games, showed no rust on this slo-mo slam before a return in Thursday’s game:
Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce on the Nets’ struggles, via ESPN.com:
It’s embarrassing. I don’t know if I’ve probably been a part of this many blowouts in one season already. But at some point, we’ve gotta have our pride. It has to come from each individual and say we’ve had enough of this. It’s extremely embarrassing.
Miami’s Mario Chalmers, likely flashing back to the 2008 NCAA tournament after getting torched by Golden State’s Stephen Curry on Thursday:
"You can't defend that. Once a player gets hot like that, you can't stop anybody like that."
On Portland's Thomas Robinson during Thursday's game against Charlotte, via Blazers media tweets:
I believe @Trobinson0 is yelling "lunch meat" every time Aldridge touches the ball against Josh McRoberts.
T Robinson on why he said "lunch meat" when LMA gets the ball. "Whatchu do with lunch meat? Eat it. He gets the ball and he eats all day."
Phoenix’s Marcus Morris on the Suns’ bench, via AZcentral.com:
“Once somebody cracks it open, you’ve got some wild stuff coming behind,” Marcus Morris said. “ … That’s what Coach (Jeff Hornacek) preaches. The more we get up, the more our percentages go higher.”
On the improvement of Marcus and Markieff Morris, from Phoenix head coach Jeff Hornacek, via CBS Sports’ Matt Moore:
"They were horrible defensively," Hornacek says. "Whether that was the system, or what. But we're putting a lot of responsibility on them to help out and to rotate and these guys are following it, and I think that's what's taking them to the next level."
On Sacramento’s Ben McLemore, via the Sacramento Bee:
“One thing I love about Ben is he is a great kid, his heart’s in the right place, he wants to do well,” said Kings coach Michael Malone. “He wants to watch film, learn and get better, he takes it very seriously and I know he’s going to get there and experience is the best teacher. What he went through (Sunday), even though it was a hard lesson for him and us, that’s going to help him (Tuesday) night and hopefully throughout the season.”
Remember to check KUsports.com every night for the latest line scores from the ‘Hawks in the NBA.
We took a break for the Christmas holiday, but the NBA didn’t.
Here’s what you may have missed:
Miami’s Mario Chalmers got fancy with a pass to LeBron James on Friday.
The Lakers’ Xavier Henry drew an and-one against Miami on Christmas Day.
Oklahoma City’s Nick Collison set up his teammates against the Knicks on Christmas Day
Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce showed some life in those 36-year-old legs on Saturday against Indiana.
Phoenix’s Markieff Morris put back a buzzer-beating offensive rebound against Philadelphia on Saturday.
Mario Chalmers, Miami Heat (Dec. 28 / W, 108-107 at POR)
Marcus Morris, Phoenix Suns (Dec. 28 / W, 115-101 vs. PHI)
Marcus Morris, Phoenix Suns (Dec. 23 / W, 117-90 vs. LAL)
Markieff Morris, Phoenix Suns (Dec. 20 / W, 103-99 at DEN)
Paul Pierce, Brooklyn Nets (Dec. 20 / L, 121-120 OT at PHI)
Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings (Dec. 20 / L, 122-103 at MIA)
Los Angeles Lakers early-season surprise and part-time starter Xavier Henry injured his right knee on Sunday against Philadelphia.
"I just landed awkwardly on my leg when I was about to plant," Henry said. He added that his knee "feels weird" and "a little loose," saying that it "kind of buckled" but was only experiencing minimal swelling.
On Monday afternoon, Henry was diagnosed with a bone bruise and some cartilage damage but "nothing too severe," a source told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. The Lakers will reevaluate Henry in a week to 10 days.
Meanwhile, Denver’s Darrell Arthur missed two games with a “right quad contusion” before returning on Monday. Arthur celebrated with a near-season-high 13 points and his first made three of the season.
Chicago’s Kirk Hinrich was sidelined for about five games with a back injury that he attributed to “wear and tear.” Hinrich returned to action on Christmas Day and played alongside fill-in starter and fellow Big 12 alum D.J. Augustin.
"He's a great decision-maker, a knockdown shooter," Hinrich said of Augustin. "Me personally, just get my minutes down a little bit so I can just stay healthier. I feel like I'm more effective that way too."
First Xavier Henry over Jeff Withey. Now LeBron James over Ben McLemore:
Rookie Jayhawks in the NBA are now 0-for-2 when trying to draw charges on devastating dunkers. Let that be a lesson to next year’s KU draft class: not everyone can be Nick Collison.
Luckily, McLemore’s spirit wasn’t broken by the play, and a few others, including James, shared some kind words after the game. From the Sacramento Bee:
“Just knowing LeBron, I knew they weren’t going to call that call (a charge on James),” McLemore said. “I was just playing my defensive principles. Going in, being the low man and taking the charge.”
Said Kings coach Michael Malone: “Ben is a fearless kid. I love his heart ... Some guys would duck and get of the way because they do not want be on the ESPN highlight tape. Ben is a competitor. He hates to lose.”
Said James: “As a defender it is a split second (decision) and if you make the wrong decision then that is what can happen. I have been fortunate enough to to be on the other end of a lot of those plays. It sucks that it was him too because I like him. I have been talking to him since he was in high school so that sucks.
"At some point, you just cut your losses and do the fake trip and say, ‘Oh well, I tried.’"
The holidays also saw a pair of flagrant fouls by the league’s Jayhawks.
Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce clotheslined Indiana’s George Hill on Dec. 23. Pierce was ejected and, a day later, fined $15,000 by the league.
Several nights later, on Dec. 27, Miami’s Mario Chalmers was tagged with a flagrant for contact with Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins.
After the game, Chalmers accused Cousins of flopping on the play. From the South Florida Sun Sentinel:
"I asked them, 'Why was that a flagrant foul,' " he said. "They said, 'Unnecessary roughness.' I said, 'How? He shot the ball and I was going for a box out.' I said, 'If I could move 285 that easily then what does that tell you?' "
Chalmers is now one of this season’s leaders in flagrant fouls, a potentially costly distinction. Again, from the Sun Sentinel:
Once a player reaches seven flagrant points (one for a Flagrant 1, two for a Flagrant 2), all suspensions are for two games, all without pay. At Chalmers' $4 million salary, each game suspended is $36,000 in lost pay.
Chalmers already has sat out one game for his Flagrant 2 foul against Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki in November. Following that incident, coach Erik Spoelstra advised him of the stakes going forward.
"I've been trying to stay out of all altercations, keep my elbows down, and if I still get something like that, that's unpredictable," Chalmers said.
Chalmers previously was assessed a Flagrant 2 foul for a Nov. 7 elbow to the neck of Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
Chalmers’ almost-triple-double: Miami faced Portland on Saturday without the NBA’s active leader in triple-doubles, LeBron James, and Mario Chalmers did his best to fill in with nine points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
"I wouldn't say he loves it when guys are out," coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He's not rooting for guys to be out. But he certainly relishes the chance to shoulder more responsibility."
As for the one point, one rebound and one assist that kept him from his first triple-double? To hear Chalmers tell it (via BleacherReport’s Ethan J. Skolnick), he had at least two assists that weren’t counted.
Pierce a starter again: Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce, who spent most of December coming off the bench after returning from injury, regained his starting job in the last two games. Frontcourt injuries and absences forced the move for the 10-20 Nets. Unfortunately for them, Pierce’s stats as a starter and reserve are nearly identical this season, with career-low 40 percent shooting and scoring in the low double-digits.
#LegendOfTheMorrii: Phoenix’s Marcus and Markieff Morris were the focus of a recent episode of NBATV’s “Inside Stuff.”
T-Rob benched: Portland’s Thomas Robinson hasn’t gotten off the bench in the last four games for the Trail Blazers. He appeared in the Blazers’ first 27 games, but coach Terry Stotts recently swapped Robinson for fellow second-year pro Meyers Leonard. BlazersEdge.com’s Ben Golliver looked at the motives behind the move, and Dane Carbaugh broke down some film on the players:
Cole "Basically Furniture" Aldrich. Poor Cole Aldrich has averaged just 3.3 minutes in 13 games this season for the New York Knicks. You know, those Knicks. New York’s unwillingness to use Aldrich despite a glaring frontcourt issues has led to great quips from Knicks fans on Twitter, including the aforementioned nickname and this tweet from Yahoo Sports’ Dan Devine:
"Hey, Cole!" "Yes, Coach?" "Go check to see if we have any more of that spiral ham in the locker room." "… OK, Coach."
Even when Aldrich does see time on the court, it’s not too encouraging. His five-minute garbage-time stint on Christmas Day earned him the moniker “Cole Somedrich.” At the very least, more Knicknames should be in store with Monday’s news that New York chose to cut reserve Chris Smith rather than Aldrich.
No baskets for Brandon: Utah’s Brandon Rush hasn’t scored a basket in six games (eight if you count DNPs Saturday and Monday). Rush has taken just eight shots over that span, bringing his season total to a measly 25 attempts in 13 games (11.9 mpg).
Taylor time: Brooklyn’s Tyshawn Taylor was assigned to the NBA D-League’s Springfield Armor for two games … and then recalled in time to play four total minutes in two games with the Nets. Since starting guard Deron Williams returned to the lineup, Taylor has played just 14 total minutes in five of 10 games.
Good news, Ben McLemore! The Kings may be 9-20, but early figures reveal that Sacramento has seen the biggest increase in attendance since last year. A stay of execution from the NBA — not to mention a new owner/GM/coach combo and a few trades — will do that to a franchise. For more on the attendance figures, head over to SBNation.com.
Lakers’ Xavier Henry on texting KU teammate Jeff Withey post-dunk-heard-around-the-world, via Grantland.com:
"He said he was doing all right," said Henry, the Lakers' 6-foot-6 swingman. "It was just one of his 'welcome to the league' moments. He said he learned not to take no charges no more."
On Sacramento’s Ben McLemore, from SBNation.com’s Tom Ziller:
The rookie was not good on Sunday. He had a rough time on offense, and he got torched quite a bit on defense. But he played 31 minutes, including all of crunch time. And I am totally fine with that, and legitimately prefer it to any other option. You don't learn how to play at the NBA level wearing warmups. You learn on the court. And Manu taught McLemore a few lessons on Sunday.
Brooklyn’s Tyshawn Taylor on Twitter … on Twitter:
I think it's funny when people say "you in the league why you respond to that" ain't that what twitter is for --to interact
I don't take this serious ... Like at all lol
On a former Jay in the NBA, as tweeted by retired NBA great and part owner of the Sacramento Kings Shaquille O’Neal:
Kings Fans, who is your favorite King of all time? Mine was Scot Pollard!
Remember to check KUsports.com every night for the latest line scores from the ‘Hawks in the NBA.
Nothing says December like an avalanche of “Best of” lists. And the NBA wants in on the fun.
Nevermind that the All-Star game is two months away or that just a fourth of the season is in the bag, first returns from this annual popularity contest are in.
Two Jayhawks made the 50-deep after the earliest round of fan voting:
— Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers was the No. 10 vote-getter among Eastern Conference backcourt players with 32,996 votes.
— Brooklyn Nets small forward Paul Pierce sits at 13th among East frontcourt players with 45,145 votes.
Of course, with just two backcourt slots and three frontcourt slots per conference, things don’t look good for Chalmers or Pierce. Leaders in the East received over 390,000 and 600,000 votes, respectively.
Fan voting for the 10 All-Star starters ends on Jan. 20, so if there’s any time to Rock Chalk the vote, it’s now.
Morris twins march on
Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris landed on the initial 120-player All-Star fan ballot, but didn’t collect a noteworthy number of votes in the first round of results.
Not surprising for a bench player who’s just now showing up on the radar of many NBA fans.
Besides, Co-Sixth Men of the Year sounds like a much more fitting award for Markieff and brother Marcus.
The twins, through the first 22 games of the season:
12.8 points (50.2 FG%), 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals in 26.0 minutes a game
10.9 points (47.0 FG%, 1.4 threes at 42.9%), 4.7 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals in 22.8 minutes a game
Among all bench players without a single start this season, here’s how the Morrii rank:
Scoring: 3rd. Markieff; 6th. Marcus
Rebounding: T1st. Markieff; 3rd. Marcus
Free-throw attempts: 5th. Markieff; 11th. Marcus
Steals: T4th. Marcus; T9th. Markieff
Increased efficiency has played a big part in the twins’ success.
Markieff has bumped his shooting up from 39.9 and 40.7 percent in his first two seasons to 50.2 percent this year. That’s the ninth-biggest improvement from 2012-13 to 2013-14 as calculated by NBA.com’s John Schuhmann.
Earlier this month, Keef explained his new offensive mindset:
"I've just got a great feel for the game right now," he said. "I'm not trying to shoot as many 3s as I have in the past. I've just been working on driving to the basket and trying to get to the line."
The stats back it up. Markieff is shooting just 0.8 threes this season compared to 1.6 last year. And in just a few more minutes a game, he’s taking 3.7 free throws, up from 1.5.
Meanwhile, Marcus’ shooting is up from 29.6 and 42.2 percent to 47.0 percent.
Defensive improvements have been just as important.
(Markieff) Morris draws 4.3 fouls per 48 minutes of play this season. That is down from 5.5 fouls per 48 minutes last season and 7.0 two seasons ago.
“He’s focusing on his defense earlier,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “In the past, to me it looked like he didn’t want to play defense. He just wanted to be out there and kind of get by. Then all of a sudden, you get yourself in bad situations and you have to foul somebody. But he’s doing his defensive work early. Consequently, he’s in better position, and you don’t have to foul.”
“He’s not long enough to think he’s going to go block all the shots. He’s got to work on his positioning and he’s done a great job of that. The quicker reactions have helped him.”
And that whole twin thing? It’s working out for the Suns.
Again, from AZCentral.com:
When Hornacek first saw his team practice, he felt like the other three players on the court were non-existent when Markieff and Marcus Morris were playing together. Hornacek joked that when they want to make sure a pass is made in a called play, they have the twins on both ends of it.
“I think Markieff is one of the best passers on our team and he’s probably one of the best big-man passers in the league,” Hornacek said. “He can really see things happen. We try to put him in positions where he can make passes.”
Sounds like a recipe for success as the season enters its second quarter.
Can Xavier Henry still dunk?
Tyshawn to Toronto?
Brooklyn Nets guard Tyshawn Taylor has been mentioned as a trade chip in a proposed deal with the Toronto Raptors, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Talks are ongoing, but considering Taylor’s lukewarm play and the return of starting point guard Deron Williams, the Nets may choose move the second-year pro.
Make sure that passport is up-to-date, Tyshawn.
Turnovers aren’t, um, an ideal basketball play. But their entertainment value can be off the charts.
Two former KU stars ended up with brilliant bloopers recently.
Seldom-used New York Knicks center Cole Aldrich showed off his dance moves in a game against Orlando.
And Chicago's Kirk Hinrich had the best/saddest reaction to a missed pass in the history of basketball:
Poor Kirk went full Charlie Brown after the turnover, so the folks at SBNation.com paired the video with the most appropriate music ever.
Good grief, indeed.
Collison makes his case
How does a player with career averages of 6.7 points and 5.8 rebounds earn the distinction of “No-Stats All-Star”?
Oklahoma City forward Nick Collison explained earlier this week on NBATV:
Remember, kids, setting screens and taking charges can be cool, too:
On telling Markieff and Marcus Morris apart, from Phoenix Suns GM Ryan McDonough:
"That's one of the toughest parts of my job."
On watching the Morris twins before a game, from ESPN’s Danny Chau:
I watched the Morris brothers play Dueling Lefty Jumpers. Marcus won. I think.
Paul Pierce on his move from Boston to Brooklyn, via Andy Vasquez:
"I'm a guy that when it's time to move on you move on. You can ask any girlfriend I've ever had."
Darrell Arthur, on a hidden talent, via DenverStiffs.com Q&A:
I like to bowl, I learned to bowl in college. I'm really fascinated with spinning [the ball]. When I get out there I just have fun with it, I'm not that good, but I like to get out there and bowl.
On Thomas Robinson during Portland’s game against Utah on Monday, from BlazersEdge.com:
If Energy Solutions Arena was a Jazz bar tonight Thomas Robinson did the equivalent of busting down the front door and swinging a gunny sack full of bowling balls through the entire combo.
Don’t forget to keep tabs on all your favorite ‘Hawks in the NBA with KUsports.com’s daily stat recaps.
It finally happened. Not that Paul Pierce ever intended for things to go down this way, exactly, but the 16-year veteran, in his 1,118th NBA game, played against the Boston Celtics for the very first time Tuesday night in Brooklyn.
Now a member of the Nets, Pierce had missed the previous four games with a broken bone in his right hand, so he came off the bench in his not-so-storybook showdown with his former team, which traded him away to build for the future.
The (hurt) Truth at least got the win after playing 22 minutes, going 0-for-3 from the field and finishing with four points, seven rebounds and three assists. But it was the return of another once ailing Net, point guard Deron Williams, that led Brooklyn to a 104-96 home win.
Pierce served as a sub for just the fourth time in his illustrious career and didn't appear to be 100 percent (he wore a protective glove of sorts on his hand), but he proved he could still make plays, with this dish to Nets big man Andray Blatche.
One might assume Pierce only came back at this point so he could do damage against his former team. However, the veteran called the timing a "coincidence" in a story from Newsday's Roderick Boone:
"My whole focus was about getting back healthy, coming out trying to help my team, establishing something at home. It just happens to be a coincidence that the day I come back is against the Celtics. It will probably be a little bit more emotional when I go back to Boston. We already had a preseason game against them. I already had a chance to holler at them in the preseason."
It's hard to imagine a guy with 24,211 career regular-season points to his name could become a backup, but his first-year coach, Jason Kidd, hinted the struggling Nets (7-14) could use Pierce in that role, according to a story from Stefan Bondy in the New York Daily News:
“I liked him being a leader with that second group,” Kidd said. “Will it stay that way? I don’t know. We will look at the video tomorrow as a team and coaches. I will talk to Paul and see what his comfort level is, but I would like to get him back, give him more minutes and get him used to that glove.”
We'll have to wait and see how long that takes, and if the highly touted Nets can start living up to their hype with the help of the former Jayhawks star.
Super Morris Bros.
In the ongoing battle to see who is the superior Morris twin off of the Phoenix Suns' bench, Marcus took another step forward Tuesday night.
His twin brother, Markieff (13.0 points, 6.2 rebounds), has stood out most of the season thus far for the surprising Suns (12-9), but Marcus (11.0 points, 4.9 rebounds) had another breakout game in Phoenix's 114-108 win at the Los Angeles Lakers. Mook (is that short for Marcus? I don't know, but his Twitter handle is @MookMorris2) made 10 of his 13 shots in the Phoenix win and scored a season-high 22 points.
Paul Coro, of azcentral.com, called it Marcus's best game of the season, noting the 6-foot-9 Wonder Twin exploits bigger power forwards when the Suns go small ball. In those situations, Marcus said, his larger defenders tend to back off on the perimeter, in order to better defend potential drives.
“Little do they know, that’s what I want,” Morris said. “I work on (jumpers) every day with Mark (West, Suns assistant coach).”
The Morrii, Coro pointed out, scored 11 straight points for the Suns late. And Markieff didn't have a bad game, either, with 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
Good thing Marcus was looking out for him.
Chalmers a surefire hall-of-famer (in Alaska)
NBA fans got to see the season's first marquee matchup of the Eastern Conference Tuesday night, when the Miami Heat played at the Indiana Pacers.
In the first of what figures to be numerous battles (regular-season and playoffs) between the clear-cut favorites of the East, Mario Chalmers had kind of a rough night in a 90-84 loss.
The sixth-year guard out of Kansas shot 3-for-7, had nine points, two steals, two assists and two turnovers for the two-time defending champion Heat (16-6) against the league's current top team, Indiana (19-3).
These in-game tweets from the media reveal a little more about what Chalmers endured.
David West scores, then drills Mario Chalmers with a forearm coming back up the floor. Chalmers still rubbing his chest.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) December 11, 2013
Mario Chalmers gets up with a smile after he's not rewarded for his flop— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) December 11, 2013
Chalmers at least served up a highlight dish in the final minutes — not that it will win him any notoriety.
The Anchorage, Alaska, native's past performances earned him some distinction, though. He received some good news before the game: Chalmers will be inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame.
And, hey, even after a disappointing loss, things could be worse: Chalmers could spend his winters in Minnesota, instead of Miami.
It's official Minnesota is colder than Alaska. Never thought I would see the day. Enjoy y'all day.— Mario Chalmers (@mchalmers15) December 7, 2013
Before we wrap things up, just for good measure, here's Ben McLemore in a Sacramento Kings Santa hat doing good.
— Don't forget to check out our daily 'Hawks in the NBA stat recaps here at KUsports.com.
Former NBA All-Star point guard Kevin Johnson might be the mayor of Sacramento, but at the rate Ben McLemore is going, the Kings rookie guard could run for election in California's capital city and knock KJ out of office.
The reigning Western Conference Rookie of the Month kept adding to his resume this weekend. On Saturday, McLemore scored in double figures for the fifth time in six games, with 15 at Utah. Three of those, Sacramento's announcers tell us, came on "the biggest shot of his young NBA career."
That three-pointer, his 28th of the season (McLemore is shooting 35 percent on 81 tries), sent the game to overtime and the Kings (5-13) went on to snap a six-game losing streak.
The night before, in a 106-100 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, McLemore set a new career high with 20 points, via one of his typically ferocious fast-break jams and 4-for-7 shooting from downtown.
Look out, KJ. Mayor McLemore might take Sactown over sooner than you think.
This Sun is on fire
Back in KJ's old stomping grounds of Phoenix, Markieff Morris couldn't miss to open the Suns' victory over Toronto. Kieff knocked down his first 11 shots on the way to 25 points and 11 rebounds — both close to season-highs of 28 and 12.
The 6-foot-10 power forward out of Kansas, as well as his teammates and coach, had plenty to say about his big night, which helped Phoenix (currently ninth out West) improve to 11-9.
"I've just got a great feel for the game right now," Kieff said in the AP's story on the game. "I'm not trying to shoot as many 3s as I have in the past. I've just been working on driving to the basket and trying to get to the line."
Though Markieff was feeling it (more than twin brother Marcus, who had 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting vs. the Raptors), he still managed to pick up his third technical foul of the season. As Paul Coro of azcentral.com writes in his game notes, Kieff might be the most fiery Sun:
On Friday night, Morris picked up his third technical foul in 20 games as a reserve. He and Jonas Valanciunas did some shoving for a double-technical. The part that could have got Morris in trouble was following Valanciunas to midcourt to continue barking at him but Valanciunas never responded.
Most of the buzz in the NBA this weekend surrounded the return of the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, who played for the first time in almost eight months against Toronto on Sunday.
The L.A. legend, back from a torn Achilles tendon injury, scored nine points in 28 minutes, while former one-and-done Jayhawk Xavier Henry made the most of his 14 minutes off the bench, adding 17 points in a 106-94 loss to the Raptors.
Turns out the lefty Henry impressed Kobe (kind of … well, not really) with one of his moves. This from Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding:
Ryan Kelly and Kobe are joking on the bench about Xavier Henry actually finishing with his right hand. TOR 38, LAL 33.— KEVIN DING (@KevinDing) December 9, 2013
Also, as you may have noticed if you saw the highlights from Kobe's return, he came out in pre-game intros to some familiar music — familiar to everybody except Xavier Henry, apparently.
Xavier Henry didn't notice the "Darth Vader" theme during Kobe's intro. And with good reason. He's never seen "Star Wars." AK— Kamenetzky Brothers (@KamBrothers) December 9, 2013
Henry has never seen Star Wars? Nerd alert.
Shouldn't he be in green?
The once unthinkable could happen as soon as tomorrow.
Paul Pierce, who spent 15 seasons leading the Boston Celtics, might play against them Tuesday night as a Brooklyn Net.
Paul Pierce said there's a "good" chance he'll play tomorrow vs #celtics— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) December 9, 2013
Check out all of Gary Washburn's twitter feed for much more on The Truth, and his thoughts on the Celtics.
Washburn, of the Boston Globe, also provides an in-depth feature regarding the struggles of former Celtics Pierce and Kevin Garnett, now that they're in Brooklyn (6-14).
“Those close to the Nets intimate that Pierce has lost his passion, still stunned from his departure from Boston and the only team he ever knew …”
“Pierce is shooting a career-worst 36.8 percent from the field in 15 games and has converted just 26.8 percent of his 3-pointers. Observers say Pierce is engaged at times and doesn’t seem interested at others.”
Don’t forget to keep tabs on all your favorite ‘Hawks in the NBA with KUsports.com's daily stat recaps.
Eight seconds left, down by two points, no timeouts and Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd needed someone to execute a clutch play.
Enter former KU guard Tyshawn Taylor.
The Nets have had to rely on Taylor in recent weeks with starting point guard Deron Williams sidelined by an ankle injury. Taylor’s response has been equal parts highlight and lowlight with nearly a turnover for every assist.
But he sure came through in crunch time on Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The extra timeout didn’t go quite as well. For starters, fellow Jayhawk Xavier Henry was one of two Lakers to infiltrate the Nets’ huddle. (“we needed to know what play they was gon run lol,” Henry tweeted afterward)
And then another KU alum, Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce, missed the shot that would have forced overtime.
But back to Taylor. After the game, Tyshawn continued his All-Star performance, this time at the mic:
Taylor also denied that the spill was intentional. "Naw, I wasn't paying attention," Taylor said after the game. "I didn't even know he was holding nothing. Like, coach is drinking soda on the sidelines! I'm like 'What? What you doing?'"
Taylor acknowledged the benefit of the "accidental" spill. "It might ice a free throw shooter and be a time-out when you don't have one, but that wasn't the thought process. I was just coming out and he was in my way."
He then laughed. "'Coach, get out my way, bro.'"
The NBA will fine Kidd $50,000 for the soda stunt, according to Yahoo Sports. We say give the money to Taylor for a job well done.
Better ‘safe’ than ...
Darrell Arthur hasn’t been spectacular in his first season with the Denver Nuggets, but since Denver starting center JaVale McGee went down with an injury, he’s been solid. “Safe,” even.
Nuggets coach Brian Shaw, via the Denver Post:
"He's a safety net for us," Shaw said. "With him, he might be kind of, without a better way of saying it, he was the sacrificial lamb early on. But I know what I'm going to get out of him.”
In the last 10 games, Arthur’s averaged 6.3 points, 2.3 rebounds in 19 minutes. Again, not spectacular, but during those 19 minutes when Arthur’s on the floor, the Nuggets have outscored their opponents by an average of 7.2 points.
A couple of factors in that, from Denver Post writer Christopher Dempsey:
He's shown himself to be arguably the Nuggets' best big man in the pick-and-roll defense. And he's a reliable shooter.
For more on Arthur’s contributions for the Nuggets, read “The Hidden Impact of Darrell Arthur,” by RoundballMiningCompany.com.
Those Morris twins have shared some success this season as key reserves for the Phoenix Suns. They’ve also shared more than a few baskets:
Paul Coro of AZcentral.com described a couple more Morris-to-Morris connections from Wednesday’s game against Portland:
In the third quarter, Markieff grabbed his own rebound and Marcus was the first to instinctively come back to the play. Markieff wrapped a pass around a defender to Marcus for a layup. In the second quarter, Markieff split two Trail Blazers to get to an offensive rebound that he could only tap out but he knew where Marcus was on the court and slapped it to him for a leaner.
A quick perusal of Suns’ box scores tell the story best, though.
Markieff has tallied 25 assists this season. Of those, 10 have gone to Marcus.
Meanwhile, Marcus has only 15 assists, but eight of those are on baskets by Markieff.
Do you think they like playing together?
Fun with stats
Miami’s Mario Chalmers, the guy who made a name for himself at the top of the arc, is the NBA’s best shooter on corner threes this season. He’s hit 10 of 13 attempts (77 percent), including perfect 6-for-6 marksmanship from the left corner. (hat tip to Comcast SportsNet’s A. Sherrod Blakely)
On Brandon Rush, from Utah Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin, via the Deseret News:
“(He’s) just trying to get his confidence back and feeling comfortable with the guys, reassure himself that his leg’s ready to go,” Corbin said. “I hope this is the top of the hill so we can get him on the floor. He’s been looking very (good) in practice. We’re looking for him to be ready to go.”
Tyshawn Taylor on playing fourth-quarter minutes, from the New York Daily News:
“Getting out there and kind of getting your feet wet, kind of getting used to the system and playing with the guys in game-like settings is great for the confidence. It’s huge for me.”
Markieff Morris, earning a technical foul after a call by NBA ref/fellow Philadelphia native Joey Crawford, via OrlandoMagic.com’s John Denton:
"You can't come back to Philly after that."
On the Morrii, from South Florida SunSentinel’s Ira Winderman:
Markieff Morris dunks, brother Marcus, awaiting at scorers' table, goes, "Woo!"
Don’t forget to keep tabs on all your favorite ‘Hawks in the NBA with KUsports.com’s daily stat recaps.
Tyshawn Taylor might be onto something. If he wasn't wearing that black Brooklyn Nets uniform, you would almost swear this highlight came from his days in Lawrence.
That is some vintage Taylor. Attacking the rim like he did at Kansas. I don't recall seeing Taylor drive the lane and finish like that since he played for Bill Self.
Bad close-out and help angles aside, Taylor exploited what the opposing defense gave him, and that's what works in the NBA.
It's hard to figure what, if anything, has changed, but perhaps Taylor's Instagram post provides some insight.
Taylor scored nine points and dished four assists in what has been a rarity this season: a Nets win. Brooklyn (4-10) had lost five games in a row before Taylor and the most elder 'Hawk in the NBA, Paul Pierce (16 points, four assists, four rebounds), at least helped the Nets end their skid.
But as Rob Mahoney writes for SI.com, the high-paid Nets aren't living up to their billing, and things need to change soon if they stand a chance of contending in the Eastern Conference.
Kieff flies over Birdman
Here's today's installment of a KU product posterizing a defender.
Markieff Morris only hit three of his nine shots in Phoenix's Monday loss at Miami, but he made this one count, and clipped Chris “Birdman” Andersen's wings in the process.
That was the mean side of Kieff. Here's his more compassionate side. He and brother/teammate Marcus Morris provided some community service for Phoenix area families to get in the Thanksgiving spirit.
We've been keeping up with all the NBA players who played at Kansas, but it's time to check in on a head coach who wore crimson and blue: the Orlando Magic's Jacque Vaughn.
The Magic (5-9) aren't setting the world on fire by any means in Vaughn's second season on the job, but no one was expecting that, either. Orlando has a young roster, highlighted by rookie Victor Oladipo, and entered the season perceived as a lottery team. (So maybe they'll land one of the Jayhawks' talented freshman phenoms next June.)
Vaughn's team should only get better with the addition of Tobias Harris to the rotation. What's more, the Magic's Tuesday night win at Atlanta marked the team's first road victory since last season. In March.
Rock-chalk the vote
When it comes to watching Kansas products play on TV, the national games don't provide a lot of options. Unless you just love watching Miami. Then you're all set.
But if you get NBA TV on your cable/satellite package, there is an easy way to try and see more of your favorite Jayhawks, via the channel's weekly Fan Night.
Fans can vote for their preferred matchup, and this week's choices include Vaughn's Magic vs. Philadelphia, Mario Chalmers and the Miami Heat (as if they're not televised enough) vs. Detroit and the Phoenix Suns, featuring the Morrii, vs. Memphis.
Don't forget to check in at our 'Hawks in the NBA page every day for the latest stats.