It was the first meeting of the teams since the dustup between Jokic and Miami’s Markieff Morris on Nov. 8. Morris committed a hard take foul that the Nuggets felt was overzealous; Jokic responded with a shove into Morris’ back. Morris has now missed 11 games with what the Heat have described as a neck injury. Jokic said he hasn’t talked to Morris since. Heat fans booed Jokic every time he touched the ball, and the reigning MVP didn’t seem to mind. “I played in Serbia, brother,” Jokic said.
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Jokic, 26, has not talked with Morris since the shoving leading to him receiving a one-game suspension. His adversary has been sidelined with a neck injury missing the next 11 games. His brothers, Strahinja and Nemanja, were in attendance, as promised. They were sitting behind the Nuggets bench. “To be honest, they were coming to Miami every year that was possible. They missed the last couple of years because of COVID with no fans,” the reigning NBA MVP explained, “It is very cool to have them by your side.”
Wes Goldberg: Spo on the fallout of the Jokic-Morris fight ahead of tonight’s game: “It’s in the rearview mirror. I’m sure the NBA sent their security… but nothing is gonna happen.”
Harrison Wind: Michael Malone on the Jokic Brothers coming to Miami: “Miami is a great city to watch your brother play. They’re not coming down here to start something. They’re coming down here because this is Miami. I know every year they’ve been able to come, non-COVID, they’ve been here.”
With reports that Jokic’s brothers are going to the Monday match after buying tickets, Heat veteran Udonis Haslem recently issued a stern warning to them. “I have nothing to do with that, man,” Haslem said to the Miami Herald. “We’re going to play a basketball game. “That’s over with. I don’t have nothing to do with that. I keep hearing about the Jokic brothers buying tickets to come to the game. They better stay in line and don’t come down there and start trouble. Miami is my city. It’s my city.”
Haslem has already expressed his respect for Jokic and a desire to move on from the issue. He reiterated that the Heat will go to play basketball, and that Jokic’s siblings should just enjoy the game and go home afterwards if they do intend to attend. “What the hell you buying tickets for?” Haslem continued. “To come do what? That’s my city. Don’t start nothing, won’t be nothing. Come enjoy the game and take your [butts] home. Ain’t nobody messing with your brother. We come to play basketball.”
Miličić has a good point, as foreign players have to work extra hard to earn respect in the NBA. Miličić then went on to flame the Morris twins for being fake tough guys: “It is obvious that they (the Morris brothers) are building their careers on incidents and provocations, as ‘dangerous guys.’ They survive on that basis. But Nikola shouldn’t have allowed himself that because they achieved what they wanted by provocation. Nikola was suspended.”
If nothing else, there’s this small solace for the Joker when it comes to all this acrimony: While it certainly looked as if the Heat’s Jimmy Butler was also coming for him during the chaos, when he could be seen yelling ‘Bring your ass to the back!’” and the Twitter folks deduced that he was challenging Nikola to a good, old-fashioned brawl, a source with knowledge of the situation said Butler was actually furious with Nuggets player development coach and former NBA player Stephen Graham.
Mirjam Swanson: Ty Lue on today’s Twitter fireworks between the Jokic bros. and Morris bros.: “I’m sure Marcus is going to want to protect his brother.” Lue notes, though, that he’s not on social media so he’s not gonna say much more than that.
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January 28, 2022 | 10:01 pm EST Update
Sarah K. Spencer: Wow. Hawks beat the Celtics, 108-92, and are now on a six-game win streak. They move to 23-25, inching closer to .500. Lead got down to 1 early in the fourth, but the Hawks buckled down and responded with clutch plays. Had 10 blocks, 10 steals, just 10 turnovers.
Jim Owczarski: Forgot to note that Lindell Wigginton exited the league’s health and safety protocol the other day for the #Bucks