Clippers' Marcus Morris denies that step on Luka Doncic's sprained ankle was intentional

LA Clippers forward Marcus Morris adamantly denied that he intentionally stepped on Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic's sprained left ankle during Tuesday night's Game 5.

After a made basket by the Clippers early in the third quarter, Morris jogged from the left wing toward Doncic, who was awaiting an inbounds pass. Morris' left foot landed on the back of Doncic's left foot, knocking Doncic's shoe off.

"I play this game with a level of respect for myself and other players. To think I would try to injure somebody is crazy to me," Morris wrote on Twitter after the Clippers' 154-111 blowout win. "10 years going against the best. I stand on morals and hard work. I compete and leave it out there every game."

In a follow-up tweet, Morris added, "Basketball has never been that serious to try to hurt somebody. Im not apologizing for s--- because I know what I put into this game day in and day out. It was a mistake deal wit it. Competing is why I play."

Morris was called for a loose ball foul on the play, and the league office reviews all fouls to determine if further disciplinary action is merited.

Doncic appeared skeptical that Morris accidentally landed on the ankle he injured during Game 3.

"I have my own thoughts," said Doncic, who had 22 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss, a couple of days after his 43-point, 17-rebound, 13-assist showing in Dallas' Game 4 win. "I hope it wasn't intentional. Tell me what you think."

Doncic paused after inquiring about the reporter's thoughts, raising his eyebrows, tilting his head and smirking.

"I just hope it wasn't intentional, but every person is going to have their own thoughts," Doncic said. "Just move on from it."

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, who was ejected from the game in the third quarter, also said he hoped Morris didn't intentionally step on Doncic's injured ankle.

"That's all I'll say about it," Carlisle said.

Doncic said Morris, the Clipper who has defended him most during the series, did not offer an explanation. Nor was Doncic interested in hearing anything more from Morris, a relentless trash-talker.

"I don't want to talk to him," Doncic said. "He's just saying a lot of bad stuff to me all the game. I just don't want to talk to him. I just want to move on. Like I say, everybody is going to have their own opinion. I just hope it wasn't intentional. If that was intentional, that's really bad."

A source told ESPN that the Mavs also requested for the league office to review an uncalled landing space violation on the 3-pointer Doncic made over Morris with 9:33 remaining in the third quarter. Doncic grimaced as he backpedaled down the court after the shot.

Morris slid his right foot under Doncic while the Mavs star was in the air, a closeout similar to former Golden State Warriors center Zaza Pachulia's infamous foul against Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference finals. Leonard, the Clippers star who then played with the San Antonio Spurs, re-injured the ankle he sprained the previous series and missed the remainder of the conference finals.

Before the next season, the NBA instituted a rule allowing referees to review replay of such landing violations to determine if the defender recklessly positioned his foot in an unnatural way, which could trigger an upgrade to a flagrant foul or a technical if the officials determined there was no contact but an apparent attempt to injure.