Kobe Bryant praises Darius Morris' defense
DEC 19, 2012 6:11a ET
When Lakers" id="ORSPT000104">Lakers comeback, he credited a player whose performance didn't stand out on the stat sheet.
"Our bench came in and did a fantastic job," Bryant said. "Darius Morris is a fantastic defender."
Morris finished with an unassuming seven points on three-for-six shooting, four rebounds and three assists in the Lakers' 101-100 win over the Ben Gordon" id="hpa471">Ben Gordon, who proceeded to pick up his dribble and throw the ball out of bounds.
"It really energized us," Morris acknowledged. "We got a bucket on the other end."
In another play in the third quarter, Morris forced a 24-second violation by attaching himself like glue to Kemba Walker.
"He didn't get a shot off," Morris said.
Morris' defense was pivotal to the Lakers' 30-4 run, which began midway through the third quarter and extended to the top of the fourth.
"Before I even started playing, they told me that's what I got to do, just really play on the defensive end," Morris said. "That's what we're missing and that's how I can be valuable to the team."
Morris acknowledged that defense wasn't always his top priority. Last season, as a rookie, he poured his energy into the offensive end.
"I probably focused on that a little more, just trying to prove myself with a chip on my shoulder," Morris said of scoring. "But this year, having some offensive success makes it easier now to just kind of step back and really focus on [the defensive] end of the court."
Morris said that he worked out with + SHOW COMMENTS +