After Monday’s night game against the Nuggets, where Nikola Jokic shoved Heat forward Markieff Morris from behind, no Miami players spoke to the media. Jokic did, saying he “felt bad,” but felt he needed to protect himself after what was deemed a Flagrant 2 from Morris. There has been plenty of chatter over the last two days about the shot from Jokic, with some like Shaq and Chuck saying they “liked” Jokic responding in that way, even if it was suspension worthy, and Jokic’s brothers getting into it with Markieff’s twin, Marcus, on Twitter.
In some of the first comments from a Heat player about the incident, longtime veteran and team captain Udonis Haslem said that he doesn’t believe that Jokic is a dirty player and that he wants Miami to “move on” from the incident.
“Obviously in a situation like that, alpha males and reactions take over,” Haslem said per the Miami Herald. “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.”
“Looking at it a day or two later, I wish it wouldn’t have gone down the way it went down. But I don’t think he’s a bad guy, nor do I think he’s a dirty player. I’m also a guy who has definitely let emotions get the best of me sometimes. But I never hit nobody in the back, and I think that’s where it got a little murky. But I don’t think he’s a bad guy, and I don’t think he meant to hurt anybody. We don’t hold grudges, so it’s time to move on.”
Jokic was suspended for one game for the shove, while Morris and Heat guard Jimmy Butler were fined for their respective roles in the kerfuffle. Morris won’t play on Wednesday against the Lakers due to whiplash suffered from the shove.
These two teams play again near the end of November, so it will be worth keeping that game circled on the calendar simply because of this incident. However, if a veteran with the cache of Haslem says his side needs to move on, then perhaps there won’t be as much reason to worry about the rematch getting too physical.