Originally posted on Fox Sports West  |  Last updated 12/19/12
When Kobe Bryant was asked about the Lakers comeback, hecredited 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 afantastic defender." Morris finished with an unassuming seven points on three-for-six shooting, fourrebounds and three assists in the Lakers' 101-100 win over the Charlotte Bobcats onTuesday evening, but his contribution to the team extended far beyond thosenumbers. Morris played hard-nosed defense against the Bobcats, forcing a few key playslate in the game that helped the Lakers overcome an 18-point second-halfdeficit. In one play in the third quarter, Morris smothered Ben Gordon, who proceeded to pick up hisdribble and throw the ball out of bounds. "It really energized us," Morris acknowledged. "We got a bucketon the other end." In another play in the third quarter, Morris forced a 24-second violation byattaching 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 throughthe 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, justreally play on the defensive end," Morris said. "That's what we'remissing 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 myselfwith 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 andreally focus on the defensive end of the court." Morris said that he worked out with Metta World Peace, aformer Defensive Player of the Year, during this past off-season. "He's given me tips on my angles on defense," Morris said. "Thatlittle bit that he's given me has really helped me, like watching thedefender's waist instead of the ball really has helped me." Morris finished Tuesday's game with a 20 rating, proving that his new-foundconcentration can have a big effect on his team. "Defense, you can bring that every night," he said. "Not everyday are you going to hit your shots."-Melissa Rohlin
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Tom Thibodeau has 'always wanted' Knicks job

Report: Luke Walton will not consider coaching offers until offseason

Budweiser: Peyton Manning not paid for Super Bowl beer plug

Archie Manning: 'I think Peyton's done in Denver'

Donald Trump: I told Tom Brady not to endorse me for President

Marshawn Lynch: Complicated and talented NFL anti-hero


Hue Jackson lets Manziel and ex know they aren’t alone

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

Tyronn Lue faces backlash for Cavs record since Blatt’s firing

Report: LeSean McCoy assaulted off duty Philly police officers

John Elway was right, the Broncos didn’t need a Plan B

Canadiens and Sharks starting to gauge trade market

Jeanie Buss may clean house in Lakers’ front office

Lisa Ann wants to reward Emmanuel Sanders for Super Bowl win

WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan to announce retirement

Nine best and worst players from 2015 NFL playoffs

Rodman wants Phil Jackson to know he’s ready to coach Knicks

Wade Phillips trolls Cam Newton with dabbing tweet

Top defensive performances in Super Bowl history

FBI questions Jeremy Shockey about drug and gambling ring

Coldplay drummer thought Johnny Football was real name

Ranking every game from 2015 NFL Playoffs

PHOTO: Panthers LB shows gruesome arm injury after SB

Patriots, Panthers early Super Bowl 51 favorites

Von Miller trolls Cam Newton, Panthers

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker