‘Basketball play’ costs Phoenix Suns’ Markieff Morris season opener
PHOENIX, Ariz. — Phoenix Suns forward Markieff Morris admits he and his brother have done it before: They’ve swapped uniforms in a game.
“We did it before in AAU ball,” he said. “Mook (Marcus) had hurt his ankle. I had fouled out and took (my brother’s jersey) and played for him. I gave (the crowd and officials) a little limp back in like I was hurting but kept playing.”
That may have worked back in the day when the Morris twins were teenagers, but now in an NBA game?
“I think they might know,” Morris said. “I’m not as skilled as Mook is.”
Morris also is an inch taller and 10 pounds heavier than his brother is, so that likely rules out any switcheroo strategy for Wednesday.
Like many fans, Markieff will have to follow the Suns’ season opener against Portland from home. Suspended players are not allowed in the arena on game day, leaving the Suns starting power forward to “just watch the game, screaming at the TV like I was watching Mook when he was in Houston.”
Morris received a one-game suspension without pay for a right elbow to the face of Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka in last Tuesday’s preseason game.
“It happens,” Morris said. “Bad judgment on my behalf; just got to take the consequences.”
The play in question happened midway through the third quarter as Morris was attempting to box out Ibaka on a free throw attempt.
“I tried to box out hard. Caught him with an elbow. Like I said, it happens. I’ll try not to let it happen again,” he said.
When asked if the elbow may have been intentional, especially after the two had been going at it for most of the game, Morris paused briefly before responding.
“Basketball play. Against those guys it’s always an intense, physical game. Like I said, basketball play. It happens. It’s a part of the game,” he said. “I’m a physical guy, tough guy. It happens.”
Morris played all 82 games last season, but his suspension for the season opener effectively ends his consecutive games streak at 96.
Entering his third year, Morris has promised to play more physical. The promise remains, despite last week’s incident.
“It was a basketball play,” he said. “It’s not going to change the way I’m playing. It was a mistake. Mistakes happen. I’m going to stay playing physical, stay playing tough.”