The Mavericks' 19/20 NBA season has officially come to an end, after their 111-97 Game 6 loss against the Clippers. Looking back on their performance, there's so much to look forward to if you're a Dallas fan. But the biggest thing may be that their franchise cornerstone in Luka Dončić came out of the series uninjured, despite Marcus Morris' efforts for it to end otherwise.
There's a fine line between playing physical, in-your-face defense, and going out of the way to intentionally injure someone. Well, in Game 5, Morris had crossed that line, after he advisedly stepped on Luka's left foot, the same one he injured two games before, causing the Mavs' superstar to lose his shoe. Right after the game, Marcus went on twitter, denying the whole talk about him intentionally stepping on Luka's foot.
Seemingly honest rationalization of Morris' basketball approach went down the drain after what transpired towards the end of the first quarter of what ended up becoming a series-deciding Game 6 on Sunday. Take a look for yourself.
If there were any questions about Morris' intentions behind his Game 5 antics, they are as good as gone after his ejection-worthy foul on No. 77. The level of subtlety was non-existent, as Morris' only intention was to hurt Luka. It wasn't about setting the tone, nor about sending the message. It was only about disabling the guy who couldn't be contained otherwise.
“It was a terrible play. What can I say? It's two games in a row he did something like that. I really hoped the first game it wasn't on purpose, but looking back on the foul this game, you know what I think. I don't want to deal with that kind of players. Just move on.”
Luka Dončić, ESPN
Morris stuck to his story about not gunning to hurt Luka during his postseason debut. He called it a 'hard foul' and something that had to be called as a flagrant 2, given that he got Dončić above the shoulders. But the whole narrative about him intentionally trying to injure Luka - that's still 'absurd' for the Clippers' forward.
They had to make that call. I think, honestly, we had a lot of back-and-forth this series. It was a hard-fought series. I just don't want people to mistake playing basketball, playing hard with trying to hurt somebody.
Marcus Morris, ESPN
The whole thing didn't end there, as Morris went on Instagram to take a final shot at Luka Dončić with a Ella Fitzgerald/Billie Holiday/Justin Timberlake classic.
The way Luka was handling this situation so far, I don't expect him to respond to Marcus' social media antics. And why would he? He did his talking on the floor, proving that he is a once-in-a-generation type of talent. All Marcus proved is that he's a dirty player, despite what he's saying via his social media accounts.