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Keegan: Morris brothers reunion could be two good for Celtics

Watching for three years the interaction of the closest two athletes you possibly could imagine ranked high among my highlights covering Kansas basketball.

It was not unusual to see Marcus and Markieff Morris walking side-by-side, listening to the same music from the same iPod, one twin with a bud in his left ear, the other with one in his right.

When the Morri were on the court together, two plus two equaled five, the twin telepathy a truly fascinating phenomenon to watch. Each seemed to know what the other was doing before he did it, which makes sense considering they had identical nature, and to that point, virtually identical life experiences.

It’s difficult to watch the Celtics struggle to blend together without wondering if doubling down on a move that looks better all the time might be just what this team needs.

Sometimes bringing in even more parts is the worst thing for a roster having difficulty meshing. Sometimes it’s the way to go. If Danny Ainge and Brad Stevens decide to pursue the latter path, the Celtics could do worse than reuniting the twins who answer to Mook and Keef.

After a recent loss, Stevens said the Celtics needed “a tougher team mentality.”

Fists clenched, chest protruding is the default position for each twin. They foul hard, never shy from contact, forever are ready to mix it up, no matter the opponent. They eagerly defend teammates, sometimes a little too eagerly. Markieff has amassed more than 60 career technical fouls and $490,307 in fines, Marcus more than 50 technicals and $209,000, according to Markieff was tagged with fines for “unsportsmanlike conduct,” pushing a ref, making “inappropriate comments” to a ref, entering a fighting area and demanding a trade in the offseason. His versatility extends beyond his basketball skill set.

Despite their tempers, the twins have no shortage of charm. They really have a way of growing on people.

“I don’t think the twins maybe had the best work habits when they got here, but I always loved the twins,” Kansas coach Bill Self told me in a recent interview. “You’d see something from them every day in practice that would make you laugh. They would say or do something and you’d think, ‘That’s unbelievable.’”

Such as?

“If you run them, it’d be, ‘Man, I quit. I didn’t come here to run track. I came here to play ball.’ That was a go-to line for them,” Self said. “But they were fun, and God were they skilled and unselfish. Great feel. Great feel. And they loved playing together. They found each other so well.”

The current situation for the Morri validates the oft-stated belief that finding the right fit plays a big part in an NBA player’s success.

“I think the situation in Boston is so good for Marcus because he’s always going to be part of the rotation, but whatever he gives them offensively every night is a bonus,” Self said. “He can be the leading scorer or he could score two points, but it seems like to me he brings an element of defense and toughness, which I never would have thought I would say when he first got here.”

A little slimmer and quicker than a year ago, Marcus is averaging 25.8 minutes and 13.5 points in reserve. He has career-best numbers in 2-point percentage (.511), 3-point percentage (.444) and rebounds per game (6.6).

In his third full-season with the Wizards as a starter, Markieff’s numbers have faded to 9.7 points and 4.3 rebounds. His most productive back-to-back full seasons came when he teamed with his brother and averaged 14.3 points and 6.1 rebounds.

Getting to spend more time with his twin and nephew, Marcus Jr., and joining a better organization likely would return Markieff to prime form.

If it makes sense financially to reunite the impending free agents from the City of Brotherly Love, it’s an idea well worth exploring.

Twitter: @TomKeeganBoston

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