The NBA announced on Tuesday that reigning MVP Nikola Jokic has been suspended one game without pay for "forcefully shoving" Miami Heat forward Markieff Morris to the floor from behind during Monday night's Nuggets-Heat game. Jokic was responding to what he felt was a cheap shot from Morris a few seconds earlier.
The NBA agreed that Morris' initial foul, for which he was assessed a Flagrant-2, was over the line, and on Tuesday announced that he has been fined $50K for his part. Morris will not face suspension.
In addition to Morris' fine, Jimmy Butler has been fined $30K for "attempting to escalate the altercation and failing to comply with an NBA Security interview as part of the review process pertaining to an on-court matter."
Here's a look at Morris' foul on Jokic, and Jokic's retaliatory action.
"It's a stupid play, I feel bad," Jokic said after the game. "I'm not supposed to react that way. I got hit. I saw him, but I thought it was just gonna be like a take foul. But he bumped me and I was like, I think it was a dirty play and I just needed to protect myself."
Morris stayed down on the floor for some time, and they even brought out a stretcher as a precaution. Thankfully, he did not need it and was able to get up and walk off on his own. You can see Morris' head snap back when Jokic hits him, and indeed he will miss Wednesday's game vs. the Lakers for what the Heat are calling "whiplash."
"That was a very dangerous, dirty play," Erik Spoelstra said after the game. "I thought Keef took a foul and it was one of those fast-break take fouls. And he did it with his shoulder. You might deem that maybe as a little bit more than just the slapping stuff. Right after I watched it on film, it was a take foul. That's how I saw it. And the play after that, that's just absolutely uncalled for."
Even the brothers of the involved players got into it, as the Jokic Brothers responded to Markieff's brother, Marcus Morris, who tweeted "Waited til bro turned his back smh. NOTED:"
As for Morris, the Heat veteran tweeted Tuesday morning about what went down the night before:
I love to see the hate! No doubt I took a hard foul which I always do but I’ve never hit a man with his back turned! Luckily we built different over here. I can take my licks and keep pushing. Joker 1 smooth 0 lol.— Keef Morris (@Keefmorris) November 9, 2021
Jokic's response was a total overreaction, and there's no place in the game for hitting guys with cheap shots in the back. You simply cannot be doing that. At the same time, there are no innocent parties here. Morris knew exactly what he was doing running across the court to deliver a hard, unnecessary foul in the final minute of a blowout.