Lakers' Markieff Morris Says Hawks Game 'Was a Trap' After LeBron James' Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2021

CORRECTS TO SECOND HALF, NOT FIRST HALF - Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, center, shoots over Los Angeles Lakers forward Markieff Morris, left, and Dennis Schroder, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward Markieff Morris took a shot at the NBA's scheduling following L.A.'s 99-94 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

According to Broderick Turner of Yahoo Sports, Morris said:

"They set us with a trap game, whatever you want to call it. I don't care how the NBA feel about it.

"It was a trap game playing 20-year-olds at 12 o'clock in the afternoon. They trapped us. We just couldn't really find it. Me, personally, I find all my shots were short. I end up making some late in the game, but throughout the game just really can't get over the hump."

In an odd scheduling quirk, the Lakers played a home game against Atlanta that started at 12:30 p.m. local time. No other game on Saturday's schedule started earlier than 8 p.m. ET.

While the Lakers lost the game, they suffered an even bigger loss when LeBron James suffered a high-ankle sprain when Hawks forward Solomon Hill dove into his leg during a scramble for a loose ball.

As a result, James will miss an indefinite amount of time.

While it wouldn't necessarily be fair to blame LeBron's injury on an early start, the Lakers are now without their top two players, as Anthony Davis continues to nurse Achilles and calf injuries as well.

To Morris' point, the Hawks have a much younger team than the Lakers, meaning the early start and break from routine may not have impacted them as significantly.

Trae Young, John Collins and Kevin Huerter are all 23 years old or younger, while center Clint Capela is just 26.

As for the Lakers, LeBron is 36, Morris is 31, and the likes of Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are all 27.

Regardless of the reason for the loss, it was a tough defeat for a Lakers team that had been playing much better of late with four consecutive wins after a 2-6 stretch.

Now, with both James and Davis injured, the Lakers are in danger of stumbling down the standings in the hotly contested Western Conference.

L.A. is third in the West for now at 28-14, but they are only 1.5 games up on the fourth-place Los Angeles Clippers and 2.5 games up on the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers, who are tied for fifth.

The Lakers have a unique stretch of games coming up against top teams like the Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks, as well as lower-tier teams such as the New Orleans Pelicans, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic.

Los Angeles has a chance to stay where it is if it can play around .500 basketball during that stretch, but it won't be easy for as long as LeBron and AD are sidelined.