Nuggets' Nikola Jokic could be facing suspension after push
The league MVP could be facing a fine and suspension after his blatant push on the Heat's foward.
The star center has found himself in hot water after an altercation in Monday night's game
Nikola Jokic faces suspension after push
Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic will more than likely face a suspension and heavy fines, after he was ejected from the game on Monday night with 2 minutes, 39 seconds left in the fourth quarter against the Miami Heat. The league MVP aggressively clashed with Heat forward Markieff Morris from behind as he retaliated to a hard foul.
Prior to the moment Jokic had rebounded the ball and then started to move down court. As he neared mid-court, Morris, in trying to hold up play, committed a hard foul on Jokic jamming his left elbow into Jokic's exposed right side as the latter tried to make an overhead pass. As Morris turned and walked away, an enraged Jokic approached him delivered a hard right forearm shove with all his weight to Morris' back, sending the Heat forward flying to the floor.
In the immediate aftermath Morris was called for a flagrant foul and Jokic was ejected. The Nuggets went on to win 113-96, but the talking point will surely be Jokic's retaliation as he and the Warriors now wait to hear what fate will await him. Speaking on the incident after the game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was clear about where he stood. "That was a very dangerous and dirty play," Spoelstra told reporters. "Keef took a foul, and it was one of those fast break take fouls, and he did with his shoulder. You might deem that maybe as a little bit more than just slapping somebody, but after watching it on film, it was a take foul. That's how I saw it. And the play after, that's just absolutely uncalled for."
Warriors' Jokic knows it was a bad move
Jokic who had a triple-double on the night with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists was to an extent apologetic. He spoke of a need for self protection but admitted he felt bad after later seeing how hard he shoved Morris in the back. "It's a stupid play," Jokic said post game. "I feel bad. I am not supposed to react that way. ...I thought it was going to be a take foul. ...I think it was a dirty play. And I just needed to protect myself. I felt bad. I am not supposed to react that way, but I need to protect myself," he said. The All-Star center went on to add, "I don't know who showed me the clip, and actually his head snapped back [after the shove], so I feel really bad. ... It's a bad move."
Jokic's likely suspension now places the Nuggets in a complicated situation, as they are already without the injured Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter Jr. who has lower back concerns. As they prepare to face Indiana on Wednesday, the Nuggets, could possibly three of their best players.
Coach Malone, Coach Spoesltra and the fallout
Speaking on the ejection, Warriors coach Michael Malone was cautious. "I will concern myself when they tell us he's suspended," he said. "I am not going to waste any of my time looking into my crystal ball and my tea leaves. I don't have any of that. He's available until they tell me he's not. And I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be available Wednesday night."
Heat coach Spoelstra disclosed that Morris was in fact OK after the hard foul and was moving around in the locker room. "This whole thing could have been a whole lot uglier if Markieff was actually facing Jokic," Spoelstra said. "The fact that he had his back turned and he made a play like that, blindsiding him, just a very dangerous play." In the immediate moments after the altercation, coaching staff from both teams along with officials all came together. Jokic could be seen sitting on the bench while the unrest continued. At one point Miami's Jimmy Butler shouted toward the Nuggets and later had to be restrained. He received a technical foul. Asked about the mood amongst his players, Spoelstra said, "The video and picture is worth a thousand words."