Celtics forward Marcus Morris and Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. had to be separated during the second quarter of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals Wednesday night.
Nance was attempting to field an alley-oop pass from LeBron James, when Morris came from behind to break up the play and tip the ball out of bounds. The defensive move sent Nance crashing to the floor, after which Morris stood over him and appeared to say something. The words seemingly sparked a fury in Nance, who got up and shoved Morris as he was walking away.
Tempers flare in Boston ? pic.twitter.com/2RC37TRczg
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) May 24, 2018
When asked what he said to Nance during that moment, Morris told reporters, “I can’t say that on the camera.”
“I definitely can’t say that on the camera,” he said. “But it must have got to him, because he got up and he did his little whatever you want to call it.”
Morris, along with Terry Rozier, charged Nance in response to the initial shove, but teammates Aron Baynes, Jaylen Brown, and Marcus Smart immediately broke up the scuffle. Smart, who was involved in an altercation with J.R. Smith during Game 2, said he took on the role of peacemaker this time around because he “didn’t want to lose no more money.”
Morris, Nance, and Rozier were each issued technical fouls after officials reviewed the sequence for “hostile act.” When asked about what happened, however, Rozier denied getting involved.
“I didn’t push nobody,” he told reporters, with a smile. “Did you see me push somebody? I don’t think I pushed nobody. Larry’s my guy. We’re both from Ohio.”
Wednesday’s clash wasn’t the first time the Celtics and their opponents have gotten chippy. As other players have done in previous series, Morris chalked the incident up to the competitiveness that comes with playoff basketball.
“I’m just competing at a high level, man,” he said. “I’m blessed to be able to come out here and play in a game of such high magnitude, and hey, it’s getting chippy. It’s the conference finals and I’m all in.”
Terry Rozier on the Marcus Morris-Larry Nance Jr. scuffle that may or may not have involved him: “I didn’t push nobody.” pic.twitter.com/YROjCbHCyu
— Nicole Yang (@nicolecyang) May 24, 2018