Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem is ready to move on after the confrontation between teammate Markieff Morris and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic on Monday.
Haslem spoke with reporters at his team’s Wednesday shootaround in advance of a road game against the Los Angeles Lakers and praised Jokic as a player and person:
“Obviously in a situation like that, alpha males and reactions take over. 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.”
Morris committed a hard foul on Jokic in the Heat’s 113-96 loss to Denver at Ball Arena. Jokic retaliated by hitting Morris with his back turned:
Morris suffered whiplash and will not play in the Lakers game. Jokic has been suspended for one game, and he’ll serve that Wednesday against the Indiana Pacers.
Tensions were high immediately following Jokic’s hit on Morris, with Jimmy Butler particularly animated as he pointed toward the Denver bench.
Butler and other Heat teammates were waiting outside the locker room postgame as well:
Per an NBA press release, Butler was fined $30,000 for attempting to escalate the altercation and failing to comply with an NBA security interview as part of the league’s investigation into the matter.
Morris was fined $50,000 for committing the initial flagrant-2 foul.
Regarding Morris’ health, Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told this to reporters: “He’s getting better, that’s the only update.”
The 7-3 Heat are continuing their five-game Western Conference road trip with a matchup against the Lakers on Wednesday before finishing off with the stretch against the L.A. Clippers, Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder.
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