The NBA retaliated when Nikola Jokic of Denver and Markieff Morris of Miami collided.
And it was the reigning MVP who received the brunt of it.
The NBA said Tuesday night that Jokic will be punished one game for pushing Morris in the back. As a result, Jokic will miss the Nuggets’ game against Indiana on Wednesday.
Morris will also be absent on Wednesday: He has a neck injury, which has been classified as whiplash, and has been ruled out of Miami’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers, according to the Heat.
Morris was fined $50,000, while Heat guard Jimmy Butler was penalized $30,000 “for attempting to escalate the confrontation and failing to comply with an NBA Security interview as part of the review process relative to an on-court matter,” according to the league.
The NBA’s decision was the last volley in a crazy day that began with a brawl in Denver on Monday night, which caused the brothers of the two players who played prominent parts in the brawl to vent their frustrations on social media.
“I think we’ll all learn from it, not letting emotions to get the better of us,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said Tuesday, just hours before NBA President of League Operations Byron Spruell revealed his decision.
Monday night’s emotions were definitely out of hand.
It all began late in the game between Denver and Miami, just after the Heat were enraged when no call was issued when they believed Jokic fouled Bam Adebayo. Morris brought the game to a halt a few seconds later by purposefully colliding with Jokic from the side, a flagrant foul according to the officials.
Morris was then stunned by Jokic’s powerful shove from behind. Heat players, as well as Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris’ twin and another NBA player, were enraged at what they saw as a cheap shot from Jokic.
“It was a foolish play,” Jokic said. “I’m in a nasty mood.”
All of this adds up to an unpleasant issue for the NBA, which was clearly not pleased with either foul or the subsequent hijinks, which included a scenario recorded in a photo from the Denver Post showing Heat players lined up outside their locker room after the game, not far from the Denver locker room. Butler “yelled down the corridor, telling Nuggets players they know where Miami’s bus was parked,” according to the newspaper.
Then it became into a family matter.
“I waited until bro turned away smh. “NOTICED,” Marcus Morris said on Twitter.
Strahinja and Nemanja Jokic are Jokic’s older brothers. They gained notoriety during last season’s playoffs, when a brawl erupted between Jokic and Phoenix’s Devin Booker, with Jokic being disqualified and his brothers being escorted to the seats.
They started using Twitter on Tuesday and sent their first tweet to Marcus Morris.
“Rather than openly threatening our brother, you should leave things alone!”
Your brother was the first to make a shady move. We will be ready for you if you want to take it a step farther!! “Jokic Brothers,” they said on Twitter.
The remark went viral almost immediately, and Marcus Morris returned to Twitter a few hours later — presumably after a conversation with his mother, Angel Morris.
“Momma told me not to communicate on social media any longer!” That’s all there is to it. Marcus Morris wrote, “I love you mother.”
That Twitter sabbatical lasted exactly 47 minutes.
Marcus Morris swiftly returned to social media in response to a post from former NFL star and current television pundit Shannon Sharpe backing Jokic, telling Sharpe to “shut… up.”
Each side, predictably, viewed dirtiness in the game through their own prism.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called Jokic’s hit “a very dangerous, filthy move.”
Markieff Morris’ play was described by Malone as “dirty foul.”
On Nov. 29, Denver travels to Miami. The Nuggets won’t play Marcus Morris’ Clippers again until December 26.