Knicks head coach David Fizdale has talked about forward Marcus Morris' leadership already this season, and reaffirmed it last night after the Knicks beat the Dallas Mavericks 106-102 on Friday night.
Fizdale and Morris spoke with media after the Knicks earned their second win of the season.
"We follow him. Marcus Morris is our leader," Fizdale said. "He embodies toughness. He embodies team. He really cares about these guys. I think he likes playing for us. He's the guy that hits me up in the middle of the night asking me if I need anything. I've never had a player like that before that just really cares so much."
Morris is now in his ninth NBA season and has played for four other teams before joining the Knicks this past summer. He scored a team-high 29 points and recorded nine rebounds, three assists, and a steal in the win over the Mavs.
"That's what I came to New York for, the opportunity to be a leader," Morris said. "Just excited about the win."
Despite winning a big road game, Morris seemed focused on what's next for the Knicks.
"We still got 73 more games. So yeah. It's good to get a win on the road any time," Morris said. "Taking a step in the right direction. I kind of felt like we got back to our normal self. Physical and sharing the ball. Just being on one page. It was exciting. It was a good win for us."
The Knicks had lost four-straight coming into Friday night's matchup, as their last win came on Oct. 28 against the Chicago Bulls. They needed to be aggressive against Dallas, who was 5-2 heading into the game thanks to young star Luka Doncic and former-Knick Kristaps Porzingis.
Morris is leading the team in scoring with 19.1 points per game, and knew he had to keep his mind in the game for the Knicks to get the win.
"Staying aggressive, basically. A few games ago, I felt I wasn't aggressive enough for this team," Morris said. "Obviously I'm going to be one of the main scorers. So my mind is not allowing myself to get out of games and miss or make shots, continue to stay aggressive, continue to score. Not just score but make opportunities for this team and my teammates."
Fizdale would go on to talk about forward Taj Gibson as well, acknowledging the 13-year veteran's importance for a young Knicks team. He played a season-high 28 minutes on Friday night, recording 12 points and eight rebounds in the win.
"Just solid. He's just glue," Fizdale said. "He's been through so many of these wars. I was on the other end of some of those wars where he kicked my butt. I'm just really happy that we have him. He's a great leader. The guys really respect him. Old Ron Rothstein used to say he doesn't get sick at sea. When it gets tight he's right there in the trench. We're just really lucky to have him."
Gibson, like Morris, is in his first season with the Knicks after spending the past two years with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In seven games this season, he's averaging 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in just 14.1 minutes per game.