Nuggets’ Jokic suspended after shoving Morris of Heat
By Victor Mather
Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets, the NBA’s reigning MVP, was suspended without pay for one game Tuesday after shoving Markieff Morris of the Miami Heat to the floor during a game Monday night.
With less than two minutes to go in a 113-96 victory for the Nuggets in Denver, Morris barged firmly into Jokic as he was making a pass.
Jokic responded by giving Morris a forearm to the back, sending him to the floor. Both players were ejected from the game, and the league assessed Morris a $50,000 fine Tuesday for committing a flagrant foul. The league said Jokic would serve his suspension Wednesday, when Denver was to host the Indiana Pacers.
The incident prompted the gathering of a scrum of disputatious players and team personnel at center court that eventually broke up without serious incident.
Morris remained down for several minutes and a stretcher was brought out, but he left the floor under his own power. The team said he had a neck injury.
“He’s moving around in the locker room right now,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game. “We’ll do the necessary tests and do what we need to do to make sure he’s OK.”
After both players were ejected, Jimmy Butler of the Heat got a technical foul after shouting at Jokic on the Denver bench. The league fined Butler $30,000 “for attempting to escalate the situation and failing to comply with an NBA Security interview as part of the review process pertaining to an on-court matter.”
“It’s a stupid play,” Jokic told reporters after the game. “I feel bad. I am not supposed to react that way, but I need to protect myself.”