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No playoffs for Morris twins
Phoenix needed to beat Memphis Monday night in step No. 1 of its last chance at the NBA Playoffs.
The next couple steps never came into play for the Suns, who bring twins Markieff and Marcus Morris off their bench, because the Grizzlies won in Phoenix, 97-91, to snag the eighth and final available playoff berth in the Western Conference.
Difficult as it may have been for Markieff to deal with the reality of the Suns' fate, the 6-foot-10 power forward gave his up-and-coming team a legitimate chance, leading Phoenix with 21 points off the bench.
As Paul Coro wrote for AZcentral.com, Markieff hit seven of eight shots in one eight-minute stretch of the second half. He finished 10-for-16 from the floor with three blocks and two rebounds in 28 minutes.
Markieff hit a couple of long jumpers in the fourth quarter, and threw down a dunk, but missed a three-pointer with 20 seconds left that would have cut a 95-91 Memphis lead to one.
Coro discusses what comes next for Markieff and Marcus in a video for AZcentral.com. The twins both are eligible for contract extensions this summer. They could easily play out the 2014-15 season without re-signing, though, and enter free agency in 2015.
Markieff makes his case for sixth man award
Markieff's value to Phoenix can't be underestimated. He's averaging 13.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and hitting 48.6% from the floor with one game left in the regular season.
He recently was asked by AZcentral.com to explain what makes him a top candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.
"Coming off the bench with energy, scoring, rebounding, making my teammates better and winning games, especially when we were supposed to win 17… You knew the Clippers (Jamal Crawford reference) were going to be good. You knew the Bulls (Taj Gibson reference) were going to be good, with or without D (Derrick) Rose. Y'all thought we were going after a Number 1 pick. I think I deserve Sixth Man Award for the team success."
Markieff went on to say the award would have meant more had Phoenix been a playoff team.
For what it's worth Grantland's Zach Lowe voted Markieff third for Sixth Man of the Year, behind Gibson and San Antonio's Manu Ginobili. Lowe also pegged Markieff as the third-best candidate for Most Improved Player, behind his Phoenix teammate Goran Dragic and Sacramento big man DeMarcus Cousins.
As Lowe points out, Morris has become an efficient offensive threat in his third season in the league:
He’s up to 50 percent on 2s this season, with a refined post-up game. Morris can shoot over guys with a soft touch, but if he thinks he can do better, he’ll face up, put the ball on the floor, and attack the rim.
We know who would receive Marcus' vote for the sixth man award.
Maybe the end of the regular season has some players feeling testy. Maybe college blue bloods don't like each other.
For the second time in less than a week, a former KU player and a former Duke player got into a scuffle on the NBA hardwood. Over the weekend, it was Ben McLemore and J.J. Redick.
Monday night, it was Nick Collison and Austin Rivers.
The veteran power forward from KU and the fiery young guard out of Duke bumped into each other a few times before it turned into a skirmish and both were ejected in the second quarter of what turned out to be a New Orleans victory.
Collison went scoreless in eight minutes of action, and NewsOK.com's Darnell Mayberry reported the 10th-year veteran picked up the first ejection of his career.
Noteworthy tweets about and from the 'Hawks in the NBA:
'Hawks in the NBA standings
It's finally the last day of the 82-game marathon that is the regular season, so here's a look at where all of the NBA's Jayhawks stand, with the playoffs starting up this weekend.
We'll rank the Kansas products according to their franchise's record.
Nick Collison/Oklahoma City (58-23)
Currently No. 2 seed in West
Northwest Division champs
Mario Chalmers/Miami (54-27)
Currently No. 2 seed in East
Southeast Division champs
Thomas Robinson/Portland (53-28)
- Currently No. 5 seed in West
Kirk Hinrich/Chicago (48-33)
- Currently No. 4 seed in East
Paul Pierce/Brooklyn (44-37)
- Currently No. 5 seed in East
Drew Gooden/Washington (43-38)
- Currently No. 6 seed in East
ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFFS
Markieff Morris & Marcus Morris/Phoenix (47-34)
Darrell Arthur/Denver (36-45)
Cole Aldrich/New York (36-45)
Jeff Withey/New Orleans (33-48)
Ben McLemore/Sacramento (28-53)
Xavier Henry/L.A. Lakers (26-55)
Brandon Rush/Utah (24-57)
— Keep up with the production of all the 'Hawks in the NBA daily at KUsports.com.