Morrow emerges as role player for Thunder in win over Celtics

Anthony Morrow pumped a fist, shouted as he ran down the court and was more emotional than a high schooler after a double-latte.

The Thunder shooter got going, got hot and was near perfect in just his second game this season for Oklahoma City.

Just think what will happen when Morrow gets open.

For now, the free agent signee is doing just fine. He had 10 points Tuesday in his first game after returning from an injury and he had 28  Wednesday as the Thunder got their first road win of the season, beating Boston, 109-94.

No wonder Morrow was so emotional. No wonder Kevin Durant was all smiles.

Morrow was signed to relieve some of the pressure from Durant and Westbrook. You know, a guy to loiter around the 3-point line, space out the defense and then knock down the shots that will inevitably be open. Durant had to love what he saw Wednesday when Morrow went off without the benefit of another superstar on the court.

And the reason the Thunder signed Morrow is because the veteran is a career 45.2 percent shooter from the field and a 42.9 percent shooter on 3-pointers. But never in his six seasons and previous five teams has Morrow had a player like Durant or Westbrook creating space and spreading the floor. And with the Thunder Morrow has two of those guys.

In theory. Eventually.

Wednesday, Morrow didn’t have either, but he got hot, going for 22 points in the second half, finishing 11-of-16 from the field and making four-of-five 3-pointers.

After each one, Morrow provided plenty of emotion and Durant exploded off the bench. Seems like they both know what could be.

"I just thank God I’m back on the court," Morrow said. "I was just trying to do my part and make shots."

Morrow’s part isn’t required to contribute 28 points, that’s for sure, but for now, his job description is muddled at best as the team is dealing with a number of injuries.

Reggie Jackson had 28 points and has emerged as the best, and most likely candidate to lead the team in scoring, getting to the basket and creating a shot, while Durant and Westbrook are out with injuries for the next month or so. 

And even with the injuries to Durant, Westbrook, Perry Jones, Andre Roberson and Mitch McGary, Morrow’s role is not defined. He’s not a starter and he’s not a guy who will generally give you a 30-minute effort. He played just 14 minutes against Milwaukee, but managed 10 points on four-of-seven shooting. Wednesday, Morrow played 31 minutes and emerged as a volume scorer.

Perhaps this is something we’ll see a lot more of as the Thunder are still looking for combinations that work until the regulars return. Morrow and Jackson combined for 42 points on 16-of-20 shooting in the second half against the Celtics.

Perhaps Wednesday came to be be because Morrow is taking more upon himself considering he missed the first seven games of the season and the team is desperate for scoring. 

Perhaps Morrow just got hot and figured it was his night.

Maybe, both.

But just wait until Durant and Westbrook get back. Perhaps he’ll have a lot more nights like he did Wednesday.

Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK


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