Pistons' Marcus Morris shines against brother, former team

Rod Beard
The Detroit News
Marcus Morris hugs Markieff Morris before Friday night's game in Phoenix.

Phoenix — In the final seconds of Friday night’s matchup against the Phoenix Suns, Pistons forward Marcus Morris got a funny feeling.

As he was guarding a pick and making the defensive switch, he found himself matched up against his twin brother, Markieff.

“It’s the first time I’ve played against him since we’ve both been established players in this league,” Marcus said. “Sometimes it was like watching myself a little bit, watching him do some of the similar stuff that I do.”

Although the game was billed as Marcus return to face his former team, he didn’t get many individual matchups against his brother during the Pistons’ 100-92 win. That didn’t make the game any less surreal, though.

It was a homecoming, but not necessarily a happy homecoming, for Marcus.

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He was dealt away to the Pistons as the Suns unsuccessfully aimed to get LaMarcus Aldridge last summer in free agency and Marcus, Reggie Bullock and Danny Granger — who was released before the season — were all a good haul for young Pistons team.

But the trade split the twins up. They had played together in high school, in college at Kansas and though Marcus was drafted by the Houston Rockets, the brothers were reunited in Phoenix soon after.

Friday’s meeting saw Marcus finish with 20 points and six rebounds and Markieff 18 points and the first win in their two head-to-head matchups.

The two faced off just once in the NBA, on March 18, 2012. Markieff’s Suns won, 99-86, and he had four points and four rebounds, while Marcus had two points in 11 minutes.

“It was cool; I had a good time — an even better time, since we got the W,” Marcus said. “My teammates held it down for me; they knew how much it meant to me, so I give a lot of credit to them.”

Marcus was booed in the pregame introductions and every time he touched the ball in the first half. After a slow start shooting, he got into a groove and brushed aside the acrimony that the Suns fans had, acknowledging that he heard the boos.

“It was light. If it was in Detroit, it would have been better,” Marcus said. “They don’t even know why they’re booing. I thought it would be a little better than that.”

With so much buildup to his return to Phoenix, Marcus is ready to move past the homecoming story and continue with the Pistons’ six-game west-coast road trip, which got off to a good start with the win.

“I’ve put it behind me. I definitely wanted to beat them at home. I’m a Piston; I don’t even think about Phoenix anymore,” he said. “I’m here to stay and I enjoy my teammates and coaches. I’m just trying to get off to a great start and continue to win.”

“After this game, I really don’t want to talk about Phoenix anymore. That’s in my past.”

When the trade from the Suns went down, Marcus didn’t even get a phone call that he was being shipped away — and that’s stuck with him, considering the financial concessions, including a low-cost contract extension he made with the team to stay with his brother.

“I signed the extension, but just to stay with my brother because we wanted to play together — that was one of our main goals,” Marcus said this week. “We weren’t being greedy; a lot of players in this league want all the money — and some of them without even worth it.”

Although Marcus lamented the trade, and being split from his brother, in the offseason, he has settled in with the Pistons and has tried to put the past behind him and move forward with his new teammates.

Still, he feels for his brother, who doesn’t look the same with the Suns — getting off one final shot at the Phoenix organization.

“I can’t really talk for him, but he just doesn’t look right to me in a Phoenix uniform,” Marcus said. “If you’ve been around somebody for a long time, you just notice it.

“He’s being a professional and he’ll continue to play through thick and think, whether he’s happy or not.”

He admitted that he’d love to play with Markieff again, but in the meantime, he’s just trying to push forward.

“They’d love him in Detroit,” Marcus said.