Denver Nuggets' MVP Nikola Jokic was forced to push Markieff Morris, Miami Heat forward, in the back Monday night. This resulted in Jokic being suspended for one game with no pay.
On Wednesday, the Nuggets won't host Indiana at their franchise center. Morris was also penalized $50,000 for the flagrant two fouls that led Jokic to retaliation.
Jimmy Butler, Miami's mayor, was also fined $30,000 after attempting to escalate the incident and failing to follow a security interview.
Jokic was dismissed with 2:39 remaining in Monday's 113-96 victory over the Miami Heat. He had taken exception to a foul call by Morris. Jokic reacted to Morris' foul and brought the ball down court. Jokic, the Heat forward, tried to stop play by giving a hard foul with his left elbow on Jokic's exposed right as the center was delivering an overhead passing. Jokic, furious at Morris' departure, took a few steps to deliver a hard right forearm shove, with his weight behind him, to Morris' back. This sent the Heat forward flying toward the floor.
The emotions from the spat spilled onto social networking as both brothers of NBA players shared their thoughts. Marcus Morris, Marcus' twin brother and LA Clippers' player, commented on Twitter, intimating that Jokic's act of pushing his brother from behind was unethical and that he will always remember it.
"Waited until bro turned his back. NOTED," Marcus Morris tweeted Monday night, with an emoji that showed a hand holding a pen and writing down something.
To respond to Marcus's tweets, Jokic’s brothers Strahinja & Nemanja opened a Twitter account called "@JokicBrothers", which was confirmed by Jokic's brother to The Denver Post.
The account was created and tweeted: "You should leave it as is rather than publicly threatening our brother!" Your brother did a dirty job first. We will be there waiting to take you one step further if you wish. Jokic Brothers
Jokic stated that he felt bad about Markieff's hit on him. Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images
Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat coach, made it clear that Jokic's retaliation was not right.
Spoelstra said that it was a dangerous and filthy play after the game. "Keef took an offensive foul, and it was one those quick break take fouls. He did this 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, which included 25 points and 15 rebounds as well as 10 assists. According to the reigning MVP, he felt the need for protection but felt terrible after seeing Morris shoved in his back.
Jokic said to reporters that it was a stupid play after the game. "I feel terrible. "I feel bad. It was going to be a take-foul. It was a dirty play. I needed to protect my self. It was a bad feeling. I'm not supposed to feel that way, but I have to protect myself."
Jokic later said: "I don’t know who showed it to me and his head snapped back [after he shove] so I feel really sorry... it’s a terrible move."
The Nuggets' top three players will be out against Indiana. The injured Jamal Murray is still in recovery from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, while Michael Porter Jr. remains sidelined with a lower back injury.
Spoelstra stated that Morris was fine after the hard foul, and was moving about in the locker room.
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 sorted. Butler shouted at the Nuggets, and Jokic had to be stopped.
Spoelstra said, "The video and the picture are worth a thousand words," when Spoelstra was asked about the reaction of the Heat players to the incident.