Markieff Morris used push-ups to get over his performance against Zion Williamson

Lakers forward Markieff Morris, left, guards New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram during the Lakers' win Feb. 25, 2020.
Forward Markieff Morris, left, guards Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram during the Lakers’ win Tuesday.
(Katelyn Mulcahy / Getty Images)

Markieff Morris had just gone head-to-head a few times with the 6-foot-7 and 285-pound Zion Williamson, and the Lakers forward didn’t like how he responded.

So when the Lakers’ 122-114 win was over Sunday night, Morris worked out in the hallway outside the locker room with the team’s training staff. He lifted weights and did push-ups, all with the intent of getting his body ready for the brute force of Williamson or any other powerful player he might face.

Morris played 14 minutes off the bench with Anthony Davis out with a sore right knee. Kyle Kuzma got the starting nod.


Morris had 10 points and four rebounds, but his main concern after the game was getting his 6-8, 245-pound body stronger from the workout.

“That mentally helped me because Zion put me on my [butt] about three times, and I wasn’t feeling that,” Morris said. “I wasn’t feeling that, so I had to get a lift in to prepare for this upcoming stretch. It was all because of that. I don’t play that [mess]. I got to work.”

Morris was four for eight from the field, including two for four from three-point range.

LeBron James finishes with a triple-double and shows off some moves in front of Zion Williamson during the Lakers’ 122-114 victory over the Pelicans.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel called several plays for Morris in the low post.

“They probably know my game,” Morris said. “I’ve played against these guys a lot. I played against Vogel a lot when he was with different teams, when he was Indiana and Orlando. I used to cook his teams in the post then, so he’s reminiscing and throwing the ball in the post to me every time.”

Vogel said Morris is a versatile offensive weapon whom the Lakers hope to use in multiple ways.

“Well, he’s just a basketball player and a savvy vet,” Vogel said. “He’s been around a few different teams. He’s picking things up quickly and finding his niche in the post and at the three-point line and within our defensive scheme. He keeps getting more integrated each game.”

Morris played in his fourth game since signing with the Lakers, and he’s getting more comfortable with his teammates and the system.

“I’m definitely getting more comfortable,” Morris said. “This is definitely a learning process. I’m watching a lot of film to see what I can do differently, to see how I can help when I get in the game. We got about [23] games left, so I’m just trying to get into that groove and getting ready for the playoffs.”

The Lakers parted ways with Troy Daniels on Sunday, allowing the guard to retain his eligibility for another team’s playoff roster.

In 44 games with the Detroit Pistons this season, Morris made 39.7% of his three-point attempts.

Over his 10-year career, Morris is shooting 34.5% on three-pointers.

“I just shoot [three-pointers] from all over,” Morris said. “I’m just trying to find my spots. These guys are doing a great job finding me. I had a couple [Saturday] night that I thought was going to go, so tonight I just kept shooting and tried to make a couple of more. I just got to keep it going.”

Morris also knows how important his defense will be for the Lakers.

“I’m just playing hard, listening to the calls,” Morris said. “I’m doing for what’s needed for the team. When I come in, I usually want to guard the best player and take some of the pressure of LeBron [James], take the pressure off AD, just pick up my defensive intensity every night.”

Sign up for Full-Court Text with NBA reporter Dan Woike

By providing your mobile number, you agree to receive automated SMS text messages about the NBA and to receive special offers from the Los Angeles Times. Standard messaging rates apply. You can always text STOP to quit or HELP for more information. By signing up for this SMS service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.