Well, it's been a bit over 20 days since the infamous Nuggets-Heat game in Denver that made waves around the world. But not so much for the basketball aspect, but rather the altercation between reigning MVP Nikola Jokić and Markieff Morris that ended up in ejections, suspensions, fines, injuries, and threats from family members. Tonight we have the rematch, and even though some of the main actors from the first game aren't playing, tensions will still be flying high.
The push heard around the world.
We have written and talked about this incident on numerous occasions, as the fight stirred up tensions from both camps and collected reactions from the whole NBA world. Everybody had their point of view, but everybody agreed Morris took a cheap shot at Jokić, which warranted a response. Now Jokić definitely took it too far, as he injured Morris, but you can attribute that to the heat of the moment.
Miami's players, especially Jimmy Butler, stood in defense of their teammates and tried to retaliate at Jokić and the Nuggets, but cooler heads eventually prevailed. The most exciting part was probably after the game, in which brothers from the protagonists of the fight got involved. Markieff's twin brother, like always, backed up his brother, causing a reaction from the infamous Jokić brothers on social media. If the rumors are true, they should be in attendance tonight.
The Heat legend sends a warning to the Jokić brothers
Well, tonight, we finally have the highly anticipated rematch in Miami. Fortunately, Nikola Jokić is returning after missing a few games with a wrist injury. But the hype dyed down a bit as the Heat are missing some of their main tough guys. Jimmy Butler is out, and Markieff Morris still hasn't recovered from Jokić's push. So when you add into the equation that Tyler Herro will also be out, you could say the Heat are understaffed and in a tough spot.
But at least they have their veteran leader and locker room voice, Udonis Haslem, who won't let this team fall without a fight. Before the game, UD voiced his opinion on the whole situation with the Jokić brothers and sent an apparent warning to them:
"I have nothing to do with that, man. 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… What the hell you buying tickets for? To come do what? That's my city. Don't start nothing, won't be nothing. Come enjoy the game and take your asses home. Ain't nobody messing with your brother. We come to play basketball."
Udonis Haslem, Miami Herald
Haslem suprised everybody after the original Nuggets-Heat game, as he defended Jokić and said he isn't a dirty player despite pushing his teammate. But even though UD has respect for the MVP, he isn't going to let his brothers punk the Heat in their city. We may be missing some key pieces, but this game will be a must-watch!