Nikola Jokić, the reigning MVP of the NBA, might be facing a suspension after an exchange of hard fouls between him and Markieff Morris cleared the benches for their respective squads. After Morris delivered a hard foul to Jokić’s ribs, the Denver Nuggets big man shoved the Miami Heat forward hard to the ground, prompting the refs to eject Joker with Morris slapped with a flagrant foul charge.
The Nuggets hosted the Heat on Monday (November 8) and were up to the tune of 111-94 with just 2 minutes and 39 seconds remaining in the contest. As Jokić was taking the ball down the court, Morris leaned in to stop the progress of the ball but delivered a left elbow shot to Jokić’s right ribs, prompting him to shove Morris hard from the back and gesture towards him.
Nuggets coach Mike Malone was able to corral Jokić and get him away from the skirmish while Morris writhed around on the court in pain. The image of Morris folded up on the ground was gripping in some respects considering he’s thought of as one of the NBA’s tough-guy enforcers. In
In the post-game conference, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra explained what Morris was trying to do and was critical of the blow delivered to the back of his player.
“That was a very dangerous and dirty play,” Spoelstra said. “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.”
Of the incident, Jokić said, “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.”
Heat star Jimmy Butler was also given a technical foul after shouting towards the Nuggets bench in the aftermath. The league hasn’t announced if Jokić will be suspended and Malone told reporters that he’s preparing his schemes and lineups with his star player in mind until he’s alerted by officials.
On Twitter, the reaction to Nikola Jokić and Markieff Morris delivering fouls on the court has folks in #NBATwitter talking. We’ve got those reactions below.