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Ben Bolch / On the NBA

No sibling rivalries here: They're teammates

Jrue and Justin Holiday of 76ers, Pacers' Ben and Tyler Hansbrough and twins Markieff and Marcus Morris of Suns are NBA rarities: Brothers playing on same team.

April 06, 2013|By Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
  • Phoenix Suns forwards Marcus (15) and Markieff Morris (11), who are twins, walk down the court together.
Phoenix Suns forwards Marcus (15) and Markieff Morris (11), who are twins,… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

Brotherly love gets you only so far in the NBA.

Justin Holiday turned 24 Friday, four days after signing with Philadelphia and moving into the home of his younger sibling Jrue, the 76ers' All-Star point guard.

What did Jrue get Justin for his birthday?

"Some nice bed sheets and a pillow and a blanket," Jrue joked.

Sleeping arrangements also were recently worked out between Marcus and Markieff Morris. The Phoenix Suns' identical twin forwards played a series of video games to decide who would get the only master bedroom in their new house.

Markieff won, five games to two. Marcus stewed, if only briefly.

"Once we picked out the house," Marcus said, "I was definitely sick about it. But I just took the guest house."

Having a brother on your team in the NBA gives you an instant roommate, best friend and lob partner.

Even if the passes sometimes result in turnovers.

That happened to Justin in his NBA debut Wednesday when he tried to feed Jrue underneath the basket. Charlotte's Kemba Walker stole the ball and the Bobcats went on to defeat the 76ers.

But Justin and Jrue really were just happy to be here, together again at last.

"I think I was happier than he was," Jrue said after becoming part of the third brother tandem to play on the same team in the NBA this season, joining the Morris twins and Ben and Tyler Hansbrough of the Indiana Pacers.

The 76ers consulted Jrue, 22, before signing Justin to a two-year non-guaranteed contract because they eventually could cut the 6-foot-6 swingman who went undrafted out of Washington in 2011.

Jrue said he was confident his brother could make it in the NBA because of his talent and work ethic. Plus, the Holidays already have proven to be a formidable duo, having led Campbell Hall High in North Hollywood to a state title in 2008.

Jrue kept close tabs on his brother even before they became teammates again. He tracked Justin's games with the Development League's Idaho Stampede, tweeting his statistics whenever he had a good game.

All Marcus Morris had to do to see how his brother was faring before the twins joined forces was watch "SportsCenter."

Markieff was a part-time starter for the Suns who became overjoyed when the team traded a second-round draft pick to Houston for Marcus in February.

"If you can imagine being with somebody for 21 years and you both get to the NBA and have to split up, and then all of a sudden getting back together, it's unreal," said Markieff, 23, who is older than Marcus by seven minutes and starred alongside his brother in high school and at Kansas before being selected one spot ahead of Marcus in the first round of the 2011 draft.

The Suns moved Marcus back to his natural small forward position, allowing the twins to play together. They are the only twin teammates in NBA history other than Dick and Tom Van Arsdale, who played together in Phoenix during the 1976-77 season. And the Morrises became the first to start as teammates, against Sacramento on March 8.

It only seemed natural for a twosome that has long been inseparable. The twins sit next to each other whenever they can, whether it's on charter planes or the team bench.

They hang out on off days and even have the same tattoos.

"It's just one of those things," Markieff said. "If he likes something, I'll get it and if I like it, he'll get it."

The Morris twins and the Holiday brothers are represented by Beverly Hills-based Rival Sports Group, a family-oriented sports management firm whose president is former UCLA guard Pooh Richardson and whose co-founder Richard Gebbia is himself a twin.

Markieff and Marcus are nearly indistinguishable except for the fact that the 6-10, 245-pound Markieff is an inch taller and about 10 pounds heavier than his brother.

Justin and Jrue are easier to tell apart. Justin is three inches taller and has a tendency to break into dance.

"I'm a little more crazy," Justin said. "I'm very energetic all the time. I guess the word is 'hyper.'"

Philadelphia fans might actually confuse the brothers when it comes to one line on the play-by-play account of games: Holiday replaced by Holiday.

Just as it should be in the City of Brotherly Love.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

twitter.com/latbbolch

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