Boston Celtics

By Ty Anderson,

After frustrating LeBron James into shooting under 40 percent from the field in their one-on-one matchup through the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, Celtics forward Marcus Morris got his in a Game 3 beatdown in Cleveland.

With limited defensive pressure, the 33-year-old James go looked unstoppable, with makes on eight of his 12 shots (including a three-for-three mark from behind the arc), and finished with 27 points and 12 assists in a 30-point win.

“[Game 3] was LeBron’s best game I’ve seen in a long time as far as helping, closing out to Jaylen Brown’s chest, making him put it on the floor, closing out to [Marcus] Morris, closing out to [Marcus] Smart,” Cavaliers head coach Ty Lue said. “He did a really good job of just setting the tone with multiple efforts, so it was good for us.”

And speaking with the media the day after the defeat, Morris was upfront with his play.

“Personally, I think I did a [expletive] job defensively with LeBron,” Morris said on Sunday. “He was too comfortable when I was guarding him. I made myself very vulnerable on screens and wasn’t disciplined. We can’t have that in a game of this magnitude, and it showed. They did a great job of exposing that. Personally, I think I have to do better.”

Morris was not alone in his struggles, as the Celtics surrendered a playoff-high 116 points, and allowed six different Cavaliers to total points in the double digits (Jordan Clarkson practically made it seven, with nine points in 18 minutes).

But this was almost expected to be the case with this series shifting back to Cleveland. Especially with the Cavs coming home down 0-2 and given the Green’s road struggles this postseason (they’re now 1-5 away from the Garden this postseason).

“They’re obviously at home, so they’re a lot more comfortable,” remarked Morris. “I watched the first two games and how we defended them and how I defended him personally, and like I said, I just thought I did a terrible job. I made myself very vulnerable and got screened a lot, and he made his space. He’s a great player and that’s what he does, so we have to fix that.”

In other words, Morris and the Celts will have to have a short memory heading into Monday’s Game 4 at The Q.

“It’s the Eastern Conference Finals. If we dwell on what happened yesterday, we won’t be able to move forward,” Morris offered. “The best thing we did — we came here, watched a ton of film, came out here and shot, got a little bit more familiar with the gym. Just got more confidence, and just ready to compete [Monday].”

Game 4 tips off Monday at 8:30 p.m., and can be heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Ty Anderson is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Follow him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.