Two days after a painful ankle injury that cost him the second half of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Markieff Morris was back in the lineup for the Washington Wizards in Game 2 against the Boston Celtics. And based on a few smooth moves in the first quarter, he looks remarkably close to 100 percent given the nature of the injury.
But that doesn’t mean Morris is totally moving on from the Game 1 incident. Morris confronted Al Horford — who Morris thinks might have intentionally stepped under him as he landed on a jumpshot — before tipoff:
But in between games, he publicly warned everybody that he planned to confront Horford directly before Game 2. “I’m going to ask him,” Morris said. “I looked at it a couple times. It’s not really that pretty, so I couldn’t really watch it too much.”
Morris apparently stayed true to his word. And Horford responded:
Al Horford just looked Markieff Morris in the eyes before tip and said, "It wasn't on purpose," regarding the foul that led to ankle sprain.
— Marc D'Amico (@Marc_DAmico) May 3, 2017
Morris didn’t seem to be convinced by the answer he got, though. About a minute into the game, he sort of tossed Horford out of bounds after the two chased a loose ball. Horford, in response, shot a slightly perturbed glance in Morris’ direction:
Markieff Morris got reacquainted with Al Horford early in Game 2. pic.twitter.com/7ODIlSXkBN
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) May 3, 2017
One of the reasons Morris and the Wizards are skeptical of Horford’s intent, according to a report from TNT’s David Aldridge, is a similar incident two seasons ago. At the very same stage of the 2015 playoffs, when Horford was with the Hawks, he stepped underneath Bradley Beal on a jumper, causing Beal to sprain his ankle:
Here’s the play on which Morris got injured on Sunday:
— NBA.com (@NBAcom) April 30, 2017
We’ll never know whether Horford’s move was intentional. What we do know is that we not only have Markieff Morris back on the court, we have an angry Markieff Morris back on the court. And it’s not the first time we’ve had an angry Markieff Morris. Morris feuded with Paul Millsap (Horford’s former teammate) throughout Round 1
The Morris-Horford dynamic can only be a positive for the entertainment value of the series, which Boston leads 1-0.