NBA

Jokic on violent Morris shove: It was a stupid play but I have to protect myself

By Sports Desk November 09, 2021

Nikola Jokic said "I need to protect myself" but admits he regrets the "stupid play" that saw him ejected for a violent shove on Markieff Morris in the Denver Nuggets' 113-96 win over the Miami Heat.

League MVP Jokic reacted angrily when Morris came in with a hard foul midcourt, catching his opponent with a left elbow to the chest.

Jokic furiously chased Morris down and responded with a right forearm shove to the back, sending the Heat star crashing heavily to the court.

A suspension and fine could now be on the cards for Jokic, who later rued his moment of madness.

"It's a stupid play. I feel bad. I am not supposed to react that way," he told reporters. 

"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."

He added: "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."

It poses a potential dilemma for Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, who was without the already injured Jamal Murray on Monday, while Michael Porter Jr. was absent with a lower back issue.

If Jokic is suspended as well, the Nuggets could be without their three best players when they face the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

"I will concern myself when they tell us he's suspended," Malone said. 

"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."

Jokic's indiscretion came with just two minutes and 39 seconds remaining in a game where he had produced a triple-double of 25 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra labelled Jokic's retaliation as "uncalled for".

"That was a very dangerous and dirty play," he said. 

"Keef took a foul, and it was one of those fastbreak-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."

The Nuggets moved to 6-4 with the win to sit sixth in the Western Conference, while the 7-3 Heat are second in the east.

Related items

  • Horizon and Waves top preliminary round with wins in Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Winter League Horizon and Waves top preliminary round with wins in Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Winter League

    Defending champion Horizon and Waves share league-topping honours with five wins each as the preliminary round of the Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Winter League concluded on Wednesday at the National Arena in Kingston.

    Waves edged Storm 91-87 while Horizon defeated Rivers 105-86 in the second match of the day.

    Waves led 19-17 after the first quarter and 42-36 at the half-way mark. Waves intensified their defensive play in the third quarter to widen the lead to nine points 63-54 at the end of the third. However, Storm stormed back in the fourth outscoring Waves 33-28 after the latter had opened a 16-point lead at the start of the closing stanza.

    The rally excited the crowd but was not enough to overcome the deficit in the end.

    Lushane Wilson led the scoring with 29 points for Waves. He got support from Nathan Akade’s 16 points and Tyran Walker’s 15. Jayrn Johnson had 24 points and Brandon Armstrong 20 for Storm. Crowd favourite Walker, who had several blocks in the game, revealed afterwards that he was intent on pulling out all the stops for the victory.

    "(I was) trying to go out and get a win, doing anything it takes to get a win, be scrappy defensively, just trying to make a statement going into the play-offs,” he said.

    “It’s a tough team, the Storm. They are going be a problem in the play-offs, if we end up playing them.”

    Storm's assistant coach Simon Brown was naturally disappointed at the defeat.

    I’ll be dead honest; I personally believe that the only reason that we lost tonight is because shots that we normally score we didn't start hitting them till the fourth quarter. Simple as that,” he said. "We have to get back to a mental game. Start learning to settle and to be calm in moments like this so that we can step up. Those turnovers came out of frustration rather than out of poor play."

     Coach Brown promised that despite the loss, his team still have their eyes on the top prize.

    "What you can expect is the championship,” he said.

    “We going all the way to the top. We don't care if it’s the first, second or fourth-place team, whoever we get in front of us our plan is to beat them, play smarter basketball and I think we can take it all."

    In the second match of the night Horizon and Rivers were locked on 43 points apiece at the half-way mark. Rivers led by one after the quarter 21-20 but then the Horizon settled down and never looked back.

    They outscored Rivers 30-16 to close the third quarter 73-59 and while Rivers tried to stage a comeback in the final quarter ended up losing 105-86.

    Bobby Gray led the scoring for Horizon with 35 points while the Rivers' Anthony Ottley had a game-high 38 points.

    “It was great. It was a team effort, team win, that's what it takes to bounce back after a loss,” said Gray, whose team lost to Waves in their previous match. You got to play together and believe in yourselves.”

    The next set of matches are scheduled for Friday (January 27) beginning at 6:00 pm when the second and third place teams battle for a place in the final and in the other match, the top team in the league will take on the fourth place team for the final spot.

  • Randle believes Knicks 'can beat anybody' – and 'lose to anybody' Randle believes Knicks 'can beat anybody' – and 'lose to anybody'

    The New York Knicks proved they "can beat anybody" by taking down the Boston Celtics on Thursday, but Julius Randle wants his "special" team to show the same focus every night.

    The league-leading Celtics suffered their first home defeat in eight games as the Knicks snatched a 120-117 overtime win at TD Garden.

    Randle, back in his All-Star form of the 2020-21 season, was the main man for New York in scoring 37 points, including five in OT.

    Boston led by as many as five points in the extra session, only for Randle to respond with a 27-foot three-pointer. The Knicks forward soon put his team ahead for good with a pair of free throws.

    Only the Celtics themselves (17-9) have a better road record this year than the Knicks (15-10), who have also celebrated impressive wins at the Philadelphia 76ers and the Denver Nuggets.

    Randle and Co. are still only seventh in the East, however, and must show greater consistency.

    "We can beat anybody; we can lose to anybody," said Randle. "That's the league.

    "We can see how special we can be on a night-to-night basis if we come in with the right focus."

    Randle's three biggest performances have come on the road, where he is averaging 26.6 points per game versus 23.0 at home.

  • Doncic looked 'fine' and was 'smiling' after leaving early in the Mavs' win over the Suns Doncic looked 'fine' and was 'smiling' after leaving early in the Mavs' win over the Suns

    Luka Doncic looked "fine" and was "smiling" but the Dallas Mavericks require more information on the ankle injury that saw him leave early in the 99-95 win over the Phoenix Suns.

    Superstar Doncic lasted just three minutes of Thursday's road game due to a sprained left ankle, doing the damage when standing on a defender's foot and pivoting.

    He immediately limped off with director of player health and performance Casey Smith, and later went for an X-ray that was negative.

    Head coach Jason Kidd provided a brief update on Doncic after the game, though details of the severity of his injury remained light, saying they will know more ahead of Saturday's contest with the Utah Jazz.

    "He was in good spirits. He looked good. He looked fine," Kidd said in quotes reported by the Dallas Morning News.

    "But we'll see as we go forward here. We'll have probably more information once we get to Utah.

    "He was smiling and he was happy for his team-mates, saying DP [Dwight Powell] made some big free throws but then to come up with that missed free throw rebound. 

    "Just his grit tonight for DP was at a high level. The character of that team played hard and found a way to win.

    "It was the whole group defensively. To hold a team like Phoenix under 100 points is a big deal. The guys in that locker room should be proud."

    Without Doncic, Spencer Dinwiddie contributed a season-high 36 points, while Dorian Finney-Smith had 18 to go with 12 rebounds.

    "It's just an all-around great team effort. Once we found out [Luka] was out, we just stepped up," Finney-Smith said.

    The Mavericks (26-24) had lost six straight regular-season games to the Suns prior to the win, though they did topple them in last year's Conference semifinals.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.