The NBA has suspended Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic for one game for “forcefully shoving” the Miami Heat’s Markieff Morris on Monday.
Morris was fined 50,000 dollars for a Flagrant 2 foul that precipitated the incident, which saw both players ejected from the game. The Nuggets went on to win 113-96.
Miami’s Jimmy Butler also was fined 30,000 dollars for “attempting to escalate the altercation” and refusing to submit to an interview with NBA security as it investigated the matter.
Jokic reacted angrily when Morris came in with a hard foul at midcourt with 2:39 to play in the game, catching his opponent with a left elbow to the chest.
Last season’s NBA MVP charged after Morris and responded with a right forearm shove to the back, sending the Heat player crashing heavily to the court.
Both teams’ coaching staffs sprang from their benches to try and restore order along with the referees.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra called it a “very dangerous, dirty play” by Jokic, who expressed regret following the game.
“It’s a stupid play. I feel bad. I am not supposed to react that way,” Jokic told reporters. “… I just needed to protect myself. I felt bad. I am not supposed to react that way, but I need to protect myself.”
Jokic will have to sit out Denver’s game against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.