Tatum Delivers Final Blow in Brotherly Battle vs. Morris
BOSTON – Marcus Morris has two brothers in the NBA. One is his twin, Markieff. The other is Jayson Tatum.
When Tatum came into the league at age 19, the veteran Morris took him under his wing. They became more than just teammates during their two years together in Boston; they became family.
As brothers love to do, Morris and Tatum battled. After practice, they would compete in heated one-on-one clashes, which brought them closer together and helped them both grow.
Those battles came to a halt when Morris left for New York this past summer, but on Friday night, they had the opportunity to spar again – for the first time at TD Garden as opponents.
"We’ve been talking about this moment for a long time,” Morris said. “I told him when I come back here, we’re going to go at it.”
They sure did.
Morris led his Knicks with 29 points, along with nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. Tatum wasn’t far behind, as he logged 24 points, six rebounds and three assists.
However, it was Tatum who delivered the final blow of Boston’s 104-102 win.
Morris looked to be the hero with 4.7 seconds left in regulation, as he tied the game up, 102-102, on a 3-point dagger. But in doing so, he gave Tatum just enough time to answer back.
After receiving the mid-court inbound pass from Marcus Smart, Tatum found himself isolated in the right corner against Knicks star rookie R.J. Barrett. Tatum jabbed to the left, then pulled back to the right before rising up just inside the arc to sink the game-winning shot.
It marked Tatum’s first game-winner in the NBA, and what made it even sweeter was that it came while Morris was on the other side of the floor.
“That was great,” Tatum said of the storybook ending. “Everybody knows we have a great relationship. He’s like a big brother to me. I just kind of wish that I would have hit that shot over him.”
Morris, who got caught up in a Gordon Hayward screen on the final possession, claims that he knew exactly what was going to happen once the ball landed in Tatum’s hands.
“Step to the right, pull,” Morris described the play, of which he surely saw plenty of during his post-practice sessions with Tatum. “Good shot, man. He’s a good player. Brad (Stevens) drew up a great play, and he made it. It was good to see him get his first one.”
After the final buzzer, the pair shared an embrace of mixed emotions – Tatum elated, and Morris deflated. Though Morris’ spirits rose back up a little bit when he returned to his locker where Tatum had left a pair of his new custom sneakers as a parting gift.
Little gestures like that surely make Morris miss having Tatum around on a daily basis. But even though they are separated, their bond will never truly break. Morris will never stop supporting Tatum and he can’t wait to see how his career shapes up.
“He’s going to be a great player in this league for a while,” Morris said. “And I’m just happy to be a part of his career so far.”
Win or lose, that’s what brotherly love is all about.