The Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards don’t like each other. We all know that by now. But who would have thought the most bad blood in the teams’ second-round NBA playoff series would be between a 5-foot-9 point guard and a 6-foot-10 power forward?
Isaiah Thomas and Markieff Morris, at one point teammates on the Phoenix Suns, appear to have developed quite a dislike for each other in the last two games.
Television cameras first captured the tension in the third quarter of Tuesday’s Game 2, when Thomas tried to plead his case to an official but was steered away by Morris.
The hostilities could have ended there, but they were just getting started. Midway through the fourth quarter, Thomas scored a key bucket in the paint right in front of Morris. A closer look, however, reveals the Wizards forward swinging a vicious elbow at the Celtics guard. It didn’t connect, but Thomas certainly noticed.
That sequence, then, would explain the play that had everyone talking: Thomas drilling a go-ahead jumper in the final minute of regulation, then tossing a cold-blooded stare in Morris’ direction.
The two exchanged pleasantries one final time after Morris fouled out on a Thomas 3-point play in overtime that sealed a 129-119 win for the C’s.
A perfect storm of circumstances led to the creation of this beef. The Celtics continuously ran pick-and-rolls to get Thomas in a mismatch with Morris, and the slow-footed big man probably was frustrated with trying (and failing) to stay with the shifty point guard. Thomas and Morris also are both very combative players (as Al Horford can attest) who have absolutely no problem with getting in each others’ faces.
Given Thomas’ success against Morris in Game 2, expect Boston to try to recreate that matchup as many times as possible in Thursday night’s Game 3 at Verizon Center. And if that’s the case, we could be in for more fireworks between David and Goliath.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images