Heat’s Erik Spoelstra Rips Nuggets Coach: ‘Don’t Give A S***’ [VIDEO]

Erik Spoelstra, Michael Malone

Getty Miami 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.

It suffices to say Miami Heat‘s five-game road trip did not start out as planned. The Heat fell to the Denver Nuggets 113-94, their most lopsided loss of the season thus far, and the violent altercation during the fourth quarter left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, especially for Miami’s head coach Erik Spoelstra.

With just two minutes and 39 seconds left, during which Denver was already up 111-94, Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, who’s 6-foot-11 and 284 pounds, approached Morris to jam his shoulder into the Heat player while his opponent’s back was turned.

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A stretcher was brought out, as it was unknown whether or not Morris, 32, could get himself off the court, but thankfully he was able to walk off into the locker room.

The NBA announced on Monday that Jokic, 26, would be suspended one game without pay, an estimated $210,417 in lost wages, and Morris would be fined $50,000. Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler was also hit with a penalty, and 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.”

During practice at UCLA, before the Heat take on the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on Wednesday night, Spoelstra made it clear he’s done talking about the altercation. When asked about how his views on the incident are vastly different than that of Nuggets’ head coach Michael Malone, Spoelstra cut off the line of questioning.

“I don’t give a s*** on what anybody’s thoughts are on anything,” Spoelstra said “I’m done talking about it.” Internally, “We addressed a few things from the other night,” Spoelstra continued, looking for everyone to move on and focus on future games. “But we have a very focused, committed group.”

Spoelstra & Malone Disagree on the Severity of Morris’ Foul

During the postgame press conference on Monday night, “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.”

Morris’ Teammates Continue to Have Morris’ Back

While Morris has already been ruled out from Wednesday night’s tilt, like Spoelstra, the rest of the Heat roster have his full support. After abstaining from the postgame conference on Monday night, Heat players addressed the media for the first time on Wednesday since their loss to the Nuggets.

“It’s one of those situations, man, we’re grown men. Things happen,” forward P.J. Tucker said, per Sun Sentinel‘s Ira Winderman. “The team is going to stick behind their brothers, fight for each other as the Denver players did for their player. It’s just how it is. It’s part of the league. Everybody is going to be together, so those things happen.”

Team captain Udonis Haslem said it was “weird for me to understand” having analysts like Shaquille O’Neil, a former Heat star, blame Morris for the incident. I’m like, ‘I grew up with you guys, man. You guys would have never cosigned me hitting somebody in the back. Now you’re saying that’s OK?’ I don’t understand that.”

However, the OG also believes it’s time to move on. “A couple of days later, we all want what’s best for everybody. I don’t think Jokic is a bad guy. I actually love him as a basketball player and I love him as a person. I think he’s a really good guy.

“I think emotions just got the best of everybody… I wish it wouldn’t have gone down the way it went down. But I don’t think he is a bad guy, nor do I think he’s a dirty player.”

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