Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic has been suspended for one game without pay and Miami Heat forward Markieff Morris has been fined $50,000 following an on-court altercation on Monday, the NBA has announced.
Jokic shoved Morris to the floor during the fourth quarter of the Nuggets’ 113-96 win over the Heat after Morris had initiated the altercation by committing a flagrant foul 2 on Jokic.
Last season’s MVP Jokic, who scored 25 points in the game, will serve his suspension when the Nuggets host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
Both players were ejected after the incident and Morris suffered an apparent neck injury, according to the Heat.
Miami forward Jimmy Butler has also been fined $30,000 for “attempting to escalate the altercation and failing to comply with an NBA Security interview,” the league said.
“It’s a stupid play, I feel bad. I’m not supposed to react that way, but it’s in the middle of the game, I get hit … I just needed to protect myself,” Jokic said of the incident.
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The spat has intensified on social media after Monday’s game, with Morris’ brother, Marcus, tweeting: “Waited till bro turned his back smh. NOTED.”
A new Twitter account named “Jokic Brothers” – created by Strahinja and Nemanja Jokic, the brothers of the Nuggets star, according to the Denver Post – then replied: “You should leave this the way it is instead of publicly threatening our brother! Your brother made a dirty play first. If you want to make a step further be sure we will be waiting for you!!”
Marcus Morris was later advised by his mom to stay off social media.
“This whole thing could have been a whole lot uglier if Markieff was actually facing Jokic,” Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters about the incident.
“The fact that he had his back turned and he made a play like that, blindsiding him, that’s just a very dangerous play.”
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Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, meanwhile, said: “I think the referees did a good job of breaking it up and trying to restore order. It’s somewhat of an ugly end to a great game from us, but we’re not going to allow that to take away from the win.”
The Nuggets are 6-4 on the season and the Heat, who top the Eastern Conference and face the LA Lakers on Wednesday, are 7-3.