Cleveland Cavaliers: Marcus Morris, Sr. could be the spark needed in playoffs

The Cleveland Cavaliers fell in historic fashion to the Orlando Magic as Cleveland's bench struggled heavily to produce, leading to questions surrounding who deserves minutes in Game Four.
Marcus Morris Sr., Cleveland Cavaliers
Marcus Morris Sr., Cleveland Cavaliers / Rich Storry/GettyImages

When the Cleveland Cavaliers picked up Marcus Morris, Sr. in a late-season move, it was a no-brainer add at the time. Morris has had his share of playoff experience, Cleveland could use the forward depth and Morris still has something left in the tank.

Morris had some opportunities for meaningful action in the closing stretch of the regular season with the Cavaliers, playing in 12 games. Through those dozen games, he averaged 5.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 15 minutes per outing.

Morris didn't play in Cleveland's first two playoff games versus the Orlando Magic but received minutes in the historically bad Game Three blowout once the Magic had already run away on the scoreboard. Despite receiving playing time, he has not had a chance to offer meaningful production in the postseason.

In that time in Game 3, Morris had five points and two rebounds in nine minutes. But when considering Cleveland's three-point shooting struggles thus far (27.2 percent shooting through three playoff games), and with Morris' aggression on both ends, he deserves to get more run in Game Four. The rest of Cleveland's bench has hardly influenced winning or knocking down deep shots. Morris could be the answer the Cavs need if given the chance.

The Cavaliers need to find production out of Marcus Morris, Sr.

While Morris was not an expected part of the Cavaliers' playoff rotation, Dean Wade's lingering injury has led to an empty space in the frontcourt lineup that Morris could fill. Morris is not as agile or defensively versatile as Wade, but his enforcer mentality and constant hustle could help force the Magic into a cold stretch.

Granted, the Cavaliers still hold a 2-1 series lead after Game Three. Cleveland's shallow frontcourt depth and Georges Niang's continued dip in three-point shooting puts the Cavs in a spot to need an added spark. Morris can bring a different energy to this group from here if given more legitimate chances.

Morris is a veteran with 68 games of playoff experience, he can provide shooting and physicality to be an impact contributor on both ends of the court. For his postseason career, Morris has had respectable splits of 12.4 points and 5.1 rebounds in 29.9 minutes per contest. He's had his share of runs with the Boston Celtics and in more recent prior seasons, the LA Clippers. While Morris joined the Cavs after being waived mid-season, his track record suggests he is capable of elevating Cleveland over the Magic.

This isn't to suggest that Morris is going to be posting 20-point double-doubles at this stage in the playoffs, but any reliable scoring and energy is necessary for the Cavaliers to bounce back from being embarrassed. The Cavaliers regressed in Game Three back to old toxic habits, and Cleveland cannot afford another lazy act in Orlando before returning to The Land. Adding Morris into the playoff mix could be the change up the Magic will not expect.

Having said that, Morris has had his share of postseason battles, knows how to be effective without the ball, and he can be an additional rebounding presence in stretches for Cleveland. And as was aforementioned, Morris is definitely not a guy who is deterred by physical play; he's always embraced that.

Obviously, the Cavaliers need their stars to be stars. Their role players and second unit options must add to the offense to maintain Cleveland's flow when the leading forces rest.

Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff needs to strongly consider finding ways to get guys like Morris and potentially Sam Merrill involved. At least in Morris' case, he provides meaningful forward shooting and a long history of playoff impact that can't be overlooked.

The Cavs are still in a good spot and shouldn't overreact to Game Three. They are not Play-In games. Cleveland still has a series advantage, and the score goes bakc to 0-0 at tip off for Game Four. Still, Bickerstaff and company have to continually be making adjustments in this series, and hopefully, moving forward from there.

Will the coaching staff do that? Time will tell. The Cleveland Cavaliers return to the Kia Center to face the Orlando Magic on Saturday, April 27 at 1:00pm Eastern Time.

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