The only thing missing from the wild scene that unfolded on Wednesday night in Portland was a cage around the court. Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic morphed into an MMA fighter as he threw a punch at Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter.
The game had already gotten chippy after Kyle Lowry got tossed in the first half. That was a very questionable ejection. However, the altercation between Nurkic and Herro was real and quickly turned physical with under a minute left.
Herro was visibly upset after Nurkic set a vicious screen that sent the young sharpshooter crashing hard to the ground. Herro retaliated by shoving the Trail Blazers big man in the back. That’s when it got ugly.
Nurkic threw an open-fisted punch at Herro’s head — luckily, the 7-foot, 290-pounder didn’t connect — as both players were ejected after a review and their teammates had to be physically restrained by the refs on the court. The incident nearly led to a bench-clearing brawl. After the game, Twitter decided to have fun with the scuffle and Herro instantly became the butt of many jokes. A video of him boxing from last July, Rocky Balboa style, started trending.
This isn’t the first time Herro has been roasted on social media. And it probably won’t be the last. He looks like the skinny kid on the playground, although he bulked up quite a bit in the offseason. Herro added 10 pounds of muscle and showed up to Heat training camp looking jacked. He worked with famed NBA trainer Drew Hanlen to work on his conditioning and all-around game. Make fun of him at your own risk.
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Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry Clown Gabe Vincent
Jimmy Butler missed Wednesday’s game with a right ankle injury suffered against Golden State. The Heat believe Butler’s injury is minor in scope, but time will tell. There is no timetable for a return. In the meantime, the five-time All-Star continues to poke fun at his teammates.
Butler posted a hilarious “Wanted: Dead or Alive” poster on Instagram showing Gabe Vincent. The Heat guard was placed on the COVID-19 list back on December 29. Butler wrote that Vincent is “notorious for taking vacations and blaming COVID.” Lowry liked the post and tagged Markieff Morris. It was all in good fun and Vincent eventually responded with a laughing emoji.
Heat Beat Blazers, Injury Report
The Heat beat the Trail Blazers 115-109 despite a makeshift lineup due to injuries and COVID-19. Head coach Erik Spoelstra threw out a starting five featuring P.J. Tucker, Caleb Martin, Omar Yurtseven, Max Strus, Kyle Lowry. Strus scored a team-high 25 points, with Herro adding 16 points off the bench.
The Heat listed Butler day-to-day on their most recent injury report, along with newcomer Aric Holman. The team is also missing KZ Okpala, Marcus Garrett, Gabe Vincent, Udonis Haslem, Dewayne Dedmon, Bam Adebayo, Victor Oladipo. Yet somehow they are treading water in the Eastern Conference and their 24-15 record is good enough for fourth place.