Jimmy Butler, Naji Marshall are among 5 players suspended after Heat-Pelicans incident



Miami’s Jimmy Butler and New Orleans’ Naji Marshall have been suspended for one game apiece for instigating an on-court altercation, the NBA announced Sunday.

The incident happened during the Heat-Pelicans game Friday night.

Miami’s Thomas Bryant and New Orleans’ Jose Alvarado were both handed three-game suspensions for fighting and leaving the bench area. Miami’s Nikola Jovic also got a one-game suspension for leaving the bench area and entering the altercation, the league said.

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“It felt like Jimmy shouldn’t have gotten a game on that,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Sunday at practice in Sacramento, where Miami will play on Monday. “It was really just kind of tangling and a little bit of pushing. I don’t think that deserves another game because he ended up having to miss the fourth quarter (Friday). But it is what it is. Nobody wants to see it escalate to that point.”

Butler — who did not think he should have been ejected — will lose nearly $260,000 in base salary because of his suspension. The rest of the suspensions will cost the four other players about $115,000, combined.

“I put my hand around his neck. He put his hand around my neck,” Butler said after the game of his incident with Marshall. “And it just took off the way it did.”

It started when Miami’s Kevin Love fouled New Orleans’ Zion Williamson under the Pelicans’ basket. Butler and Marshall “engaged in a physical altercation” after the foul, the league said, and Alvarado and Bryant then fought.

Alvarado, Bryant, Butler and Marshall were assessed technical fouls and ejected from the game, which the Heat won 106-95.

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Alvarado will miss games Sunday against Chicago, Tuesday at New York and Wednesday at Indiana. Marshall will miss Sunday’s game against the Bulls.

Butler and Jovic will not play when Miami visits Sacramento on Monday and Bryant will miss that game, along with ones Tuesday at Portland and Thursday at Denver. Bryant played for the Nuggets last season when they beat the Heat in the NBA Finals.

The Heat could be further short-handed on Monday. Guard Tyler Herro, who left late in Friday’s game after thinking he had injured his knee, was having an MRI exam on Sunday as a precaution. Herro said he expects to play either Monday or Tuesday if the MRI comes back clear.

Miami could get guard Terry Rozier back either Monday or Tuesday as well. Rozier has been out with a sprained knee but is on the cusp of returning.

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