National Basketball Association
Pistons-Suns Preview
National Basketball Association

Pistons-Suns Preview

Published Nov. 5, 2015 5:48 p.m. ET

Marcus Morris had some choice words for the Suns after being traded from the team that gave him a contract extension, and his fuming twin brother sent a tweet that said ''my future will not be in Phoenix.''

Although Markieff Morris remains with the Suns, Marcus could have some extra motivation to continue his solid start Friday night when he returns to Phoenix for the first time since a July deal to the Detroit Pistons that he said was a "slap in the face."

The former Kansas stars were reunited over the past two-plus seasons before Phoenix (3-2) moved Marcus Morris and two other players in an offseason salary dump after the forwards had signed extensions with the club before the 2014-15 season.

The trade rankled the twins, who have spent most of their lives playing together. Markieff Morris was fined $10,000 for making ''a public statement detrimental to the NBA" after expressing his desire to leave the Suns in the wake of the deal.


''Everybody knew how bad I wanted to play with my brother," Marcus said during his Detroit introduction. "Phoenix knew. For them to trade me without consent or telling or anything like that was kind of like a, I would say slap in the face, because of the contract I took from those guys and the money I took from them."

Markieff no longer wants to talk about what happened in the offseason. He has averaged 14.5 points while helping the Suns win three of their last four games, though he's only shooting 34.3 percent this season.

He had 11 points, one of six Suns in double figures, in Wednesday's 118-97 win over Sacramento. Markieff did not practice Thursday due to an illness but is expected to play.

While Markieff is struggling so far without his brother, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy has played a key role in helping Marcus adjust and move on. He's averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds for the surprising Pistons (3-1).

"I like the toughness," Marcus told the team's official website. "I feel like I fit straight in. I feel like I'm home. I'm ready to go. Happy to be here and ready to contribute."

Markieff drew the ire of the Pistons when he said Kentavious Caldwell-Pope showed a lack of heart with a missed buzzer-beater in the Suns' 88-86 road win Nov. 19. Caldwell-Pope got some revenge by hitting a late 3-pointer in Detroit's 105-103 victory Dec. 13 that snapped a six-game skid at Phoenix.

Andre Drummond sank a free throw with 2.5 seconds left in that contest, finishing with 23 points and 14 rebounds. He had 25 points and a career-high 29 rebounds in Tuesday's 94-82 home loss to Indiana, putting up the franchise's second 25-25 game in the last 30 years.

Drummond also had his sixth game with at least 10 points, 10 offensive rebounds and 10 defensive rebounds, tying Tyson Chandler for the lead among active players.

Chandler, acquired from Dallas in the offseason, ranks among the league leaders with 11.6 rebounds per game while also helping to improve the Suns' interior defense. Phoenix opponents are making an NBA-low 11.5 field goals per game within six feet.

Detroit will have to worry about Phoenix's backcourt after Eric Bledsoe had 19 points and eight assists and former Piston Brandon Knight had 17 and 7 on Wednesday. Bledsoe, averaging a team-high 20.6 points, has scored 19.0 per game in his last three meetings.

''I think Eric came in this year with a different mentality,'' coach Jeff Hornacek said. ''He knows that for us to get to another level, he's got to bring it every game we're out there."


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