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Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic has been suspended for one game after he was ejected late in Monday night’s win over the Miami Heat.

Jokic was bumped by Heat forward Markieff Morris and swiftly reacted with an even bigger bump, sending Morris to the floor. 

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A stretcher was brought onto the floor for Morris, who was also ejected, but he was able to walk off the court, with the Heat later announcing he was dealing with an apparent neck injury. Miami star Jimmy Butler received a technical foul for his reaction to the play.

Morris was fined $50,000 for committing a Flagrant Foul 2 on Jokic, while Butler was given a $30,000 fine for attempting to escalate the altercation.

The reigning MVP was remorseful postgame, describing his actions as a “bad move.”

“I felt bad, for real. I don’t know who showed me the clip and I saw his head snap back. I feel really bad. It was a reaction. It’s a bad move.”

On TNT the next night, analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley weighed in on the tussle between Jokic and Morris, defending the Serbian big man. 

MORE: Nikola Jokic suspended for one game

“He gave him a shot in the back and whiplashed him,” Ernie Johnson said when Barkley asked what Jokic did to deserve a suspension.

“Hold on, Ernie,” Shaq replied. “It’s called retaliation. First of all, when you hit me, don’t turn around.”

Shaq then recalled his infamous fight with Chicago Bulls big man Brad Miller, explaining the thought process of a big man in that situation.

“As a big guy, when a little guy hits you, you gotta touch him on back,” O’Neal said.

“I have no problem with what The Joker did, I actually like it as a big guy. You got these guys foulin’ ’em, hanging on. He hit him, intentional, unnecessary roughness, so what do you do as a big guy? You go hit him back. When you hit me, don’t turn your head, because it’s coming. You’re either gonna get it in the front, or you’re gonna get it in the back.”

Johnson followed up, asking if the move could be considered “a dangerous and dirty play,” before Barkley echoed O’Neal’s sentiments.

MORE: Jokic brothers join Twitter, send warning to Morris

“Morris started it, let’s get [that] first,” Barkley said. “Joker retaliated, and then people say, ‘Well, he hit him in the back.’ Well, if you hit me, I’m with Shaq on this. Let me tell you something Ernie — if you hit me, you better not turn your damn back, because I’m coming back at you. You can’t hit somebody and turn your back.”

Nuggets upcoming schedule 2021-22

The Nuggets are currently in a five-game homestand, with matchups against the Pacers, Hawks and Trail Blazers remaining. They will then go on a one-game road trip to Dallas to face the Mavericks.

Date Opponent Time (ET)
Wed, Nov. 10 vs. Indiana 9:00 PM
Fri, Nov. 12 vs. Atlanta 9:00 PM
Sun, Nov. 14 vs. Portland 8:00 PM
Mon, Nov. 15 at Dallas 8:00 PM
Thu, Nov. 18 vs. Philadelphia 9:00 PM
Fri, Nov. 19 vs. Chicago 9:00 PM
 

 



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