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Markieff Morris looks ahead to Christmas vs. twin brother and Celtics

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Markieff Morris looks ahead to Christmas vs. twin brother and Celtics

There were several events this past summer that forever altered the rivalry between the Wizards and Celtics, but one could argue the day of July 7 stands out above all. That's when Boston traded Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons for Marcus Morris and a second round pick.

Bradley didn't have a central role in the bad blood like Jae Crowder or Kelly Olynyk, who established themselves as villians to Wizards fans. But he was Boston's best answer to John Wall and Bradley Beal, a defensive stalwart who gave them fits like few others in the NBA can.

Most importantly, the acquisition of Morris put him on the opposite side of Wizards forward Markieff Morris, one of the rivalry's key characters. Now this feud that had boiled over in a contentious playoff series this past spring features twin brothers and best friends. So much for the hatred.

Soon after the trade, Markieff said the rivalry should carry on. But now, as their first matchup of the season on Christmas Day nears, he is singing a bit of a different tune.

"I'm excited to play against him. Them, I couldn't care less. It's not like the rivalry is still there. The main guys went to Cleveland, so it's going to be a little different this year," he said.

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Markieff added that the Celtics lost their "chippy guys," meaning Crowder, who was traded to the Cavs, and Olynyk who signed with the Heat. Also, Jonas Jerebko who had a dustup with Ian Mahinmi in Game 3 of their playoff series, signed with the Jazz.

Crowder had a long history of sparring with the Wizards, going back to the 2015-16 season when he got into an argument with then-Wizards coach Randy Wittman. Crowder also got into a slapping match with John Wall in January. Olynyk is famous for getting pushed to the ground by Kelly Oubre, Jr. in Game 3, an act that earned Oubre a one-game suspension.

Those three are gone and so is Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics' best player from last season. He was traded to Cleveland along with Crowder.

But remaining are Marcus Smart, who has had run-ins with the Wizards before including both Wall and Beal. There's also Terry Rozier, who was ejected from Game 3 after mixing it up with then-Wizards player Brandon Jennings.

And, of course, there's Al Horford. Surely Markieff remembers him. It was in Game 1 of that playoff series that Horford stepped under Markieff's jumpshot and sprained his left ankle. Morris retaliated in Game 2 and is still dealing with complications from that injury.

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Markieff did technically leave the door open for some fireworks.

"I don't talk trash to my brother. I guess we'll be the two that stand in and not let it happen," he said. "But if they want to keep it going, I'm all for it."

Markieff used to look forward to playing the Celtics because of the rivalry. Now, it's because he gets to be with family. Marcus hasn't seen Markieff's daughter since the day she was born in September due to their NBA commitments.

"It's going to be special, man. I'm excited because half of my family is going to be there in Boston staying at his house. He will get to spend time with his niece," Markieff said.

Markieff and Marcus have had some strange parallels this season. They each began the year injured and debuted on the same day, Nov. 3. They then missed games due to injury on Dec. 13.

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Markieff wasn't surprised by any of it.

"That's some twin s—. That's how s— usually happens," he said.

Wait, is twin s— an actual thing? Because everyone who isn't a twin has wondered that before.

"I don't know, man. Weird s— always happens, so I feel like it is real. I feel like it is," he said.

That's good to know.

Marcus remains out with a left knee injury, but is on track to return on Dec. 25, ready to play his brother. Markieff said neither of them need presents. He wishes Marcus good health and for himself: "I've already got my daughter. I'm good to go."

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Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

Ty Lawson is playing a bigger role than anyone could have predicted for Wizards vs. Raptors

The biggest surprise of the Wizards-Raptors series through two games, at least from Washington's perspective, has to be the fact Ty Lawson has very quickly earned a prominent role in Scott Brooks' playoff rotation.

Lawson, 30, was signed the day after the regular season and after he played much of 2017-18 in China with the Shandong Golden Stars. He did not appear in one game with the Wizards or any other NBA team during the regular season, yet he was the first point guard off the bench in Game 2.

When John Wall picked up two quick fouls, it was Lawson who got the nod, not Tomas Satoransky. Lawson ended up playing 31 minutes, more than Satoransky and fellow backup point guard Tim Frazier have earned combined through two games.

Though the Wizards had three point guards on their bench behind Wall before Lawson even signed, he has apparently surpassed them all on the depth chart. Satoransky is the most surprising, given he played quite well during the regular season.

Satoransky averaged 7.2 points, 3.9 assists and shot a team-best 46.5 percent from three. He had the highest offensive rating (124) on the team.

Lawson, though, played quite well in Game 2. He put up 14 points, eight assists and three rebounds while shooting 4-for-5 from three.

Lawson outscored four of the Wizards' five starters. Not bad for his first game.

"He did everything I knew he was capable of doing," Brooks said. "I’ve seen him do it for many, many years. He’s tough, he’s a competitor. He competes and pushes the pace. He plays defense. I liked the spirit."

Lawson provided a noticeable spark. He is still quick and aggressive with the ball, not afraid to look for his own shot, and played physical defense against the Raptors. Lawson ended the night plus-8 in the box score in a game the Wizards lost by 11.

"It’s good to see him get into a game and be able to produce for us," guard Bradley Beal said.

Given the Wizards lost Game 2 and face an 0-2 deficit in their series, it is likely that Brooks continues to alter his rotation in the coming games. He could go back to Satoransky more often, knowing he had some solid games against Toronto in the regular season, including on March 2 when he had 10 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Satoransky could see more time at shooting guard or small forward and could play alongside Lawson. That might be Satoransky's best bet because Lawson did nothing in Game 2 to squander the opportunity.

For a team whose effort has been questioned by their head coach, Lawson's energy and urgency was noteworthy. He brought the edge of a guy playing for his NBA career, knowing a good playoff series could earn him a contract next season. 

Clearly, the way Lawson played was refreshing for Brooks given how long he kept him out on the floor. He may have come out of nowhere, but it looks like Lawson is here to stay.

MORE ON THE WIZARDS-RAPTORS SERIES:

WIZARDS NEED BEAL TO BE MUCH BETTER TO WIN

BROOKS MAY CHANGE STARTING LINEUP FOR GAME 3

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Beal and Porter need to step up and so does the defense

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Beal and Porter need to step up and so does the defense

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hughes and Chris Miller broke down the Wizards' 0-2 deficit and how Bradley Beal and Otto Porter need to play better.

They went into the potential change in the starting lineup, why the Wizards are doing so poorly on defense and the historical odds the Wizards are now up against.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!