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Nikola Jokić suspended one game for shove of Markieff Morris

Markieff Morris and Jimmy Butler were also fined for their parts in the altercation.

DENVER NUGGETS VS MIAMI HEAT, NBA Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

After deliberation by the NBA league office, the NBA has decided to suspend Nikola Jokić for one game following his altercation with Markieff Morris in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s 113-96 win over the Miami Heat.

After Morris took an unsportsmanlike foul in transition, elbowing Jokić in the rib area and kneeing the side of Jokić’s knee, Jokić responded with a shove of his own to an unsuspecting Morris as the Heat forward walked away from the play. Morris went down, and each team had to be restrained at center court as Jokić was escorted back to the Nuggets bench by head coach Michael Malone. Both teams put on mean faces, but no additional altercations occurred during or after the game.

Morris stayed down for several minutes before he was able to rise and walk away under his own power.

After the altercation and subsequent bench clearing calmed down, the referees in the game assessed a Flagrant 2 foul to Morris and an Unsportsmanlike technical foul to Jokić. Both were ejected from the game. Jimmy Butler was also assessed a technical foul for his part in the proceedings. Morris and Butler were both subsequently fined as well.

Without getting too much into the “who’s right vs who’s wrong” dynamic, Jokić doesn’t react in the manner that he did if Morris doesn’t instigate. The Morris twins, both Markieff and Marcus, now have a history of going at Jokić and the Nuggets. Marcus did so as a member of the New York Knicks and as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers, and now Markieff has done so while playing a key role for the Heat. Jokić doesn’t have a beef with the Morris brothers, but they clearly do now. Strahinja and Nemanja Jokić won’t be sitting idly by either while their MVP younger brother is wronged in their eyes.

Still, it’s clear that Nikola was also in the wrong in the manner that he stood up for himself, and the NBA is punishing him for that reaction. He will be forced to sit out Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, and the Nuggets should be thankful it wasn’t a stronger sentence. The Nuggets being without Jokić, Jamal Murray, AND Michael Porter Jr. for more than just one game would have reflected poorly on Denver’s record.