As Celtics slump, Morris says 'it hasn't been fun for a long time'

Expected to contend for an NBA Championship, the Boston Celtics are showing more signs of internal strife. Veteran forward Marcus Morris believes the team is playing as individuals.


Unlike other Eastern Conference contenders, the Boston Celtics didn't make any moves at the trading deadline. Forward Marcus Morris sees another difference. 
"I watch all these other teams in the league, guys up on the bench, up on the court, they're doing stuff that looks like they're enjoying their team-mate's success, they're enjoying everything and they're playing together," Morris said. "And when I look at us, I just see a bunch of individuals."
Since the deadline, the Celtics have blown big leads in a pair of home games. On Thursday, they wasted an 18-point first-half lead and lost to the Los Angeles Lakers on a buzzer shot by Rajon Rondo. On Saturday, they squandered a 28-point second-half lead and were booed off the court in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. 
"It’s not about one game, it’s not about two games," Morris said after Saturday's loss. "It’s about this entire experience. We have a great team. We have a lot of names, a great team. But if it’s not fun, not together, then how can we win? 
"I've never seen a team not having fun, bonding well on the court, win a championship. If the goal is to win a championship, that has to change first." 
Before the losses, the Celtics (35-21) had won five straight games and nine of 10, losing only to two-time defending champion Golden State. However, Morris pointed out that there wasn't much joy during that recent hot streak, either. 
"It hasn't been fun for a long time," the eight-year veteran said. 
It may not be fun for a while. All-Star guard Kyrie Irving suffered a strained right knee in Saturday's loss and may not play Tuesday at Philadelphia, which has won twice since reworking its roster at the deadline. 
"When you look at them, you see the enjoyment on the team," Morris noted. 
For a team with championship aspirations, the Celtics have had plenty of internal strife. They began the season trying to re-incorporate Irving and Gordon Hayward, who missed huge chunks of last season due to injuries while youngsters Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier flourished in their absence. 
In December, the Celtics had a team meeting after a loss to Milwaukee. In January, Morris and Brown argued on the bench in Miami and had to be separated. 
Two nights later, Irving had words with Hayward when he didn't get the last-second shot in a loss at Orlando. Afterward, he said, "The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship-level team." 
It didn't help matters last week when the names of Tatum, Brown and Rozier arose in rumors involving New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, whom the Celtics can trade for. Morris doesn't believe that should be an issue. 
"Trade deadline's over," he said. "This is the team we're rocking with. This is what we're going with." 
An impending free agent, Morris is having the best season of his career while both starting and coming off the bench - something he is willing to do again to help the team. 
"We have to genuinely want to win. That has to be the first goal," he said. "Whatever it takes, I'm with it. If you want to take me out (of) the line-up and get some juice in it, I'm with it. But I'm trying to win. That's the goal." 


Monday, February 11th 2019
By Chris Bernucca,

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