Denver Nuggets’ big man Nikola Jokic has been suspended for one game without pay for hard dirty push from behind on Miami Heat forward Markieff Morris on Monday night.
Morris was fined $50,000 for his flagrant two fouls that led to Jokic’s retaliation, while Miami’s Jimmy Butler was fined $30,000 for attempting to escalate the altercation.
Following the game, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra called Jokic’s play “very dangerous” and “dirty.”
“Keef took a foul, and it was one of those fastbreak 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.”
Jokic isn’t known to be a dirty player and felt some remorse after the incident.
“It’s a stupid play,” Jokic told reporters after the 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.”
It’s an unfortunate situation, because at the end of the day, he was just trying defend himself after Morris gave him a hard foul first. It was a case of he who hits back gets the punishment worst.