Heat Coach Says ‘NBA Security Sent a Full Team’ for Nuggets Rematch

Erik Spoelstra

Getty Head coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat watches as his team takes on the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on November 27, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois.

November 29 has been etched in the brains of Miami Heat fans ever since the altercation between Nuggets star Nikola Jokic and forward Markieff Morris went down three weeks ago.

The NBA subsequently announced that Jokic, 26, would be suspended one game without pay, an estimated $210,417 in lost wages, and Morris would be fined $50,000. Jimmy Butler was also hit with a penalty, handed a $30,000 fine for what the NBA deemed, “attempting to escalate the altercation and failing to comply with an NBA Security interview as part of the review process pertaining to an on-court matter.”

Monday night marks the first time that the Heat will face the Nuggets since Jokic took Morris out of the game with a blindside hit to his back, an injury which left 32-year-old veteran with whiplash and a neck injury.

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After the Jokic/Morris situation went down on November 8 at the Ball Arena, social media barbs between the Jokic brothers, Strahinja and Nemanja, and Morris’ twin brother, Marcus Morris, flew back and forth on Twitter.

The Jokic brothers threatened to attend the two teams’ rematch in Miami on Monday night, but Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said that he’s not worried about a huge fight breaking out.

“It’s in the rearview mirror,” Spoelstra said, per Miami Herald‘s Anthony Chiang. “I’m sure NBA security has sent the full team down here. Everybody is going to be on high alert, including the officials. Nothing is going to happen. This is about basketball and also both teams are managing injuries right now.”

As for Nuggets’ head coach Michael Malone, “To me there’s nothing really to address,” he said, per Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Windeman. “Notes that Jokic brothers always come to Miami because it’s Miami.

Erik Spoelstra, Michael Malone

GettyMiami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra (L) makes it clear that he doesn’t care what Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone (R) thinks about the Jokic/Morris altercation.

“What happened happened,” Malone continued. “Nikola served his suspension. He showed remorse after the game and it’s 10 games later. Much has been made about the Jokic brothers coming to Miami, irresponsible in my opinion because they’ve come to Miami every year. Miami is a great city to come watch your brother play. So they’re not coming down here to start something.”

Morris was pre-emptively ruled out for the Heat’s rematch against the Nuggets, as he’s still dealing with lingering pain. Jokic, who missed the Nuggets’ last four games due to an unrelated injury, will be active against the Heat on November 29.

The Jokic brothers, as expected, did attend the game on Monday. And the reigning NBA MVP was booed the first two times he touched the ball.

Spoelstra & Malone Disagreed on the Severity of Morris’ Foul

During the postgame press conference on November 8, “That’s just absolutely uncalled for,” Spoelstra said of Jokic’s push. “And it would have looked a lot different, this whole thing could have been a whole lot uglier, if Markieff was actually facing Jokic. The fact that he had his back turned and he made a play like that, blindsiding him, that was just a very dangerous play.”

Spoelstra also doesn’t believe Morris’ foul was a Flagrant 2. “I thought ‘Kief took a foul and it was one of those fast-break take fouls. And he did it with his shoulder. You might deem that maybe as a little bit more than just the slapping stuff,” Spoelstra said per Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman. Right after I watched it on film, it was a take foul. That’s how I saw it.”

Malone, however, agreed with the ref’s decision. “I think the flagrant 2 on Morris was the correct call. Watching it from different angles, it was an unnecessary play, a dirty play, however you want to phrase it. Nikola reacted, and I loved what Nikola said. He knows that he can’t react in that manner.”

Heat’s Team Captain Issued a Stern Warning to the Jokic Brothers

Udonis Haslem

GettyUdonis Haslem #40 of the Miami Heat looks on before the game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat during Game Two of their Eastern Conference first-round 2020-21 NBA playoff series.

Heat’s team captain Udonis Haslem says the entire team has long moved on from the Jokic/Morris altercation.

“It’s over with, man. It’s over with,” Haslem said’s prior to tipoff. “Nobody got time for that… It happened. In the heat of the moment, everybody reacted. OK, let’s move on. It’s over with. It is so far over with. I don’t have time for that. You’re talking to somebody who has seen everything but the wind. I’ve seen it all. That’s over with.”

As for the Jokic brothers coming to Miami on Monday night, however, Haslem remains weary of their intentions.

“What the hell you buying tickets for? To come do what?” the veteran power forward said. “That’s my city. Don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing. Come enjoy the game and take your [butts] home. Ain’t nobody messing with your brother. We come to play basketball.”

READ NEXT: Ex-Heat Star Abruptly Leaves Toronto Raptors Due to a ‘Personal Matter’

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