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Clippings: The Battle of L.A. brother duel

Marcus and Markieff Morris aren’t used to playing on separate teams.

Los Angeles Lakers v LA Clippers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Marcus Morris Sr. hadn’t yet made a mark in the Battle for L.A. The only time he played the Lakers in 2020 after joining the Clippers, he went 0-of-9 from the field and had five fouls to one point in his 29 minutes in the loss. On opening night this season, the Clippers won, but Morris’ activity was relegated to the exercise bike as he missed the game with an injury.

The taste of that performance, combined with going up against his twin brother Markieff on the Lakers, would naturally explain the motivation Marcus felt to have a strong showing Sunday, which he did with a game-high 22 points and plus/minus of plus-24.

The problem with that theory is Marcus doesn’t really look forward to playing against Markieff; it’s an uncomfortable experience and one that he’s not exactly familiar with.

“Honestly, when we were young, we really never went against each other,” Marcus said postgame when asked if this battle reminded him of previous ones against Markieff. “We always went against everybody else. And I think that’s the reason why we’re both in the NBA now.”

Coach Ty Lue even said that the team discussed adjusting their lineup so that the brothers wouldn’t be directly matched up against each other.

“We gave [Marcus] stuff yesterday about if he did not want to start on his brother, if he didn’t want to do it, let us know now. He said whatever we got to do to win,” Lue said. “He came out and in that first half really set a tone for us offensively, thought he did a good job of moving the basketball, and he benefited from guys attacking the paint and sharing the basketball early on.”

Even if it was strange to not be on the same team, Marcus acknowledged that it was special to be on this stage, on national television, opposite his brother. They’ve worked their entire lives to get to this point, and they certainly seemed to bring out the best in one another.

Markieff was able to hold serve with Marcus early, finishing with nine first-quarter points to 11 for the Clipper forward. The Laker Morris had a nice overall floor game, even if his scoring didn’t match up with the Clipper’s, and the only outright bad plays Markieff had were when he took quick shots immediately after Marcus had scored, indiscretions that were more easily forgiven on an occasion like this one.

“Being on one of the biggest stages in the same city on two great teams, it’s a blessing for both of us, and it just shows how hard we worked,” Marcus said. “We’re both just tremendously happy for each other, and just as special for our family to be able to enjoy Easter and be all together, be able to watch me and him go against each other. I think it’s a big accomplishment for us.”

The next goal is for Marcus catch his older brother in head-to-head record, which currently stands 11-5 in favor of Markieff. The way those two are, though, every one of those games still feels like a win.

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