Basketball

BLUM: Morris has historic night, THT with a double-double

Jun 1, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris (11) shoots the ball past Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) in the second quarter during game five in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Cyclones are continuing to make an impact in the Playoffs.

Monte Morris had the best game of his Playoff career Tuesday night in Denver’s 147-140 double overtime win over Portland. The steady hand scored a Playoff career high 28 points, dished out five assists and to nobody’s surprise, had zero turnovers in 41 clutch minutes of play. The 28 points were the most points scored by a Cyclone in a Playoff game since Jeff Hornacek scored 28 in a win by the Jazz over the Clippers in round one of the 1997 Playoffs.

Amazingly, Morris has played in nearly 40 career Playoff games and has had more than one turnover in a game just four times.

He wasn’t the only Cyclone to put up numbers last night.

Talen Horton Tucker got extended minutes in the Suns blowout win over the Lakers and THT made the most of it. He scored 11 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 16 minutes. This was the first double-double by a Cyclone in a Playoff game since Jamaal Tinsley scored 12 points and dished out 12 assists for the Pacers in a win over Detroit in the 2005 Playoffs.

THT hasn’t been a big factor for the Lakers through six games, but that doesn’t lessen his growing positive reputation in the NBA. There is a growing consensus Horton-Tucker could be in line for a huge payday this off-season. Because he was a second round draft pick in 2019, he will be a restricted free agent this offseason, meaning the Lakers can still match any contract he is offered, but that offer may be steep. There is talk THT may be offered in the neighborhood of a four-year, $60 million contract by teams aiming to lock in the potential of the 20 year old. It is quite the ascension for a former Cyclone that arrived in Ames as a 17 year old three short years ago.