Markieff Morris and his Washington Wizards teammates have spent the offseason lamenting what might have been after their seven-game playoff loss to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The contentious series stoked a budding rivalry between the teams that has a new element this season. Morris' twin brother, Marcus, was traded to the Celtics from the Detroit Pistons last month for guard Avery Bradley.
Will the family element change things?
“I think it will be a liiiittle bit softer than it was, just a little bit,” Morris joked to Ben Standig of FanRagSports.com. “I think we’ll still have that rivalry because we don’t like those guys and they don’t like us. I don’t that should change with my brother on the team."
Animosity toward the Celtics aside, Markieff called the C's "a great organization" and said he was with Marcus when the trade happened July 7. They'll get to spend Christmas together, too. The NBA released its holiday schedule last week that includes a Wizards' visit to TD Garden in the Celtics' first-ever Christmas home game.
“Usually he’d just come right in and tell me. I knew when [Marcus] asked to come outside the room I was like, ‘Yeah, there was something wrong,” Morris cracked. “I think that was the best move for him, honestly. You get to play for a great organization like Boston. That’s once in a lifetime. I’m happy for him. Really can’t wait until that Christmas game.”
An immediate concern for the brothers is a criminal trial set to begin Aug. 21 in Arizona for an assault charge. It stems from a Jan. 24, 2015 incident when the Morris twins were playing for the Phoenix Suns. Erik Hood, 36, of Phoenix, alleges that the twins were part of a group that attacked him outside a Phoenix recreation area.
The NBA released its opening night and Christmas schedule and the Celtics open Oct. 17 at Cleveland and host the Washington Wizards on Christmas Day.
The Celtics and Cavs last met in the Eastern Conference finals when the Cavs eliminated the C's in five games. They'll open the season against each other on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at 8 p.m. It'll be a slightly different Celtics cast with Gordon Hayward added in free agency, No. 3 overall pick Jayson Tatum making his NBA debut and Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk gone via free agency among the changes for Boston.
- SI: Jayson Tatum 'most likely NBA rookie to succeed'
- Anthony Davis: Craziest question I heard was whether I was going to Boston
As for the Cavs, their big question mark will be whether they'll have All-Star guard Kyrie Irving still playing with LeBron James after they have reached the NBA Finals three years in a row. Irving has asked to be traded.
The 5:30 p.m. Christmas Day home game will be the first Christmas home game for the C's in their history and will offer another playoff rematch. They'll host the Washington Wizards, who lost to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals in seven games. New Celtics forward Marcus Morris, acquired from the Detroit Pistons this summer, will get to spend the holiday facing his twin brother Markieff of the Wizards.
The Celtics earlier announced a regular-season game in London Jan. 11 against the Philadelphia 76ers. The full regular season schedule will be released later this month.