Pregame Post-Ups: C’s Relying on Morris’ 'D' vs. Durant

Thursday, Nov. 16 - Warriors at Celtics

Pregame – Celtics Relying on Morris’ Defense vs. Durant

BOSTON – One of the reasons why the Boston Celtics sought after Marcus Morris this summer was because of his ability to defend large, versatile, high-scoring wings. Tonight, his skills on that end will be put to test as the C’s host the Golden State Warriors and their superstar wing, Kevin Durant.

Durant has put up exceptional scoring numbers against the Celtics in his career, having averaged 26.1 points per game in 14 matchups. While Stevens doesn’t want to put too much pressure on Morris heading into this matchup, he acknowledges that the 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward will have a big role against Golden State’s big star.

“I think Kevin Durant’s a hard guy to guard, so I’m not going to jinx anybody by talking about trying to guard him,” Stevens said ahead of tip-off at TD Garden. “But Marcus is a very versatile defender who we’re going to ask a lot out of.”

Morris, who will start at the 4 tonight, has the grit, the strength and the speed to keep up with an elite talent like Durant. He displayed all of that, and more, Tuesday night when he tallied season highs of 21 points and 10 rebounds in a 109-102 win against the Brooklyn Nets.

“I thought the way that he played in the fourth quarter (when he scored 11 of his 21 points) in Brooklyn, he kind of carried us there when we really needed it on the offensive end,” said Stevens. “But then he also had some stops where he got his hands on the ball, guarded the drive, guarded different guys off switches, and that’s what we need to be able to do. Just like with Golden State’s ability to switch and cause havoc with that switching, when we’re at our very best, we have a lot of versatility out there.”

Morris is one of the most versatile players of the bunch, with his ability to guard virtually every position on the floor. His services on the defensive end will be especially valuable tonight, when he stares down one of the best wing scorers in league history.

- Taylor C. Snow