After Markieff Morris, Heat power forward Markieff Morris was aggressively blindsided by Nikola Jokic in retaliation for a hard foul, the Denver Nuggets' star Nikola Jokic was sent off the court with 2:39 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Jokic was trying to pass the ball after rebounding. Morris tried to stop the play by giving a hard foul with the left elbow to Morris when Jokic was close to midcourt. Jokic, furious, took a few steps to deliver a hard right forearm push with his weight behind him, sending the Heat flying toward the floor.
Morris was assessed with a flagrant violation two, while Jokic was dismissed before the Nuggets' 113-96 victory over Miami.
The NBA will review Jokic's retaliation by Jokic from behind and could levy suspension or a fine.
Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat coach, said that it was a dangerous and filthy play. "Keef took an offensive foul, and it was one those fastbreak-take fouls. He did it with his shoulder. Although you might think it was more than just slapping someone, it was clearly a take foul. This is how I saw it. The play that follows is just completely uncalled for."
Jokic finished the game with a triple-double: 25 points, 15 boards and 10 assists.
Jamal Murray was already out of action and the Nuggets were without Michael Porter Jr. because of a lower back injury. Denver could be without its top three players when they play Indiana on Wednesday.
When asked about Jokic's possible suspension, Denver head coach Michael Malone stated that he would be concerned. "I will not waste any time looking into my crystal ball or my tea leaves. I don't have that. Until they inform me otherwise, he is available. He'd be available Wednesday night, and I don't see why.
Spoelstra stated that Morris was fine after the hard foul, and was moving about in the locker room afterwards.
Spoelstra stated that the whole thing could have turned out a lot worse if Markieff had been facing Jokic. He blindsided him and made a dangerous play because he was able to turn his back on Markieff.
Both officials and the coaching staff tried to maintain peace after the altercation. Jokic was sitting on the bench as the court was still being resolved. Jimmy Butler, from Miami, shouted at the Nuggets. Jokic had to be stopped.
Spoelstra said, "The video and the picture are worth a thousand words" when Spoelstra was asked about the Heat players' mood after the incident.