Denver Nuggets: What to make of the Nikola Jokic/Markieff Morris exchange?

Update: Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets, has been suspended for one game following his altercation with Markieff Morris per Shams Charania, The Athletic.

With just over two minutes remaining in a convincing win for the Denver Nuggets over the Miami Heat, Markieff Morris committed a hard take foul on Nikola Jokic at halfcourt. Unlike most take fouls this season, Morris’ had a wind up and hit the reigning MVP while in mid-jump shot, Jokic retaliated hard.

Morris was assessed a flagrant foul two and Jokic was ejected before the Nuggets took a 113-96 win.

Speaking with media after the game, Nikola Jokic apologized for his reaction, saying that it was a spur-of-the-moment action:

“It’s a stupid play. … 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.

“I don’t know who showed me the clip, and actually his head snapped back [after the shove], so I feel really bad. … It’s a bad move.”

Twitter was at its best as plenty of fans and personalities across the league weighed in.

One of the people was LA Clippers forward and Markieff Morris’ twin brother, Marcus Morris, calling out the play by saying that Nikola Jokic waited until “[Markieff] turned his back”.

Following this, Nikola Jokic’s brothers, Strahinja and Nemanja, created a Twitter account called ‘Jokic Brothers’ to speak up against Marcus:

Morris responded, on social media, by saying his mother told him not to respond on social media anymore, ending the discussion.

The NBA is yet to issue a suspension for the 2020-21 Most Valuable Player but many predict one coming. Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra added that he believed it was a dirty play but didn’t go as far as suggesting a suspension:

“That was a very dangerous and dirty play. … Keef took a foul, and it was one of those fast-break-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.”

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said that he isn’t thinking about a suspension until the league informs him of such:

“I will concern myself when they tell us he’s suspended. … I am not going to waste any of my time looking into my crystal ball and my tea leaves. I don’t have any of that. He’s available until they tell me he’s not. And I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be available Wednesday night.”

After the retaliation from Jokic, Markieff Morris was on the ground for a few minutes while other Heat players like Jimmy Butler and Udonis Haslem started shouting at the MVP from across the court.

Nikola Jokic finished the game with 25 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 assists while winning a solid home game against the Heat who were atop the Eastern Conference. Markieff Morris finished with 10 points in 21 minutes of action.

It’s likely that Jokic will receive a suspension for multiple games. The league has not yet issued this penalty.

The Denver Nuggets will next play the Miami Heat on 29 Nov. 2021 at the FTX Arena in Miami.