Jimmy Butler suspension: Heat forward among five players disciplined for roles in Pelicans fight

On Friday, an inspired Heat team brought the fight to New Orleans and earned an 11-point win over the Pelicans. In the process, the two teams engaged in an actual altercation, resulting in five players being suspended for at least one game.

The NBA announced on Sunday that Jimmy Butler was among the five players who would be disciplined for their roles in the altercation, which occurred early in the fourth quarter of Friday’s game. 

The mix-up between the two teams began when Miami forward Kevin Love committed a hard foul on New Orleans’ Zion Williamson. As Love held Williamson up, Pelicans forward Naji Marshall ran to his teammate’s defense and was met with hostility from Butler.

As Butler and Marshall’s physical altercation spilled to the sideline, attempts to break up the madness resulted in Heat center Thomas Bryant squaring up with Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado. All four players were ejected, and second-year forward Nikola Jovic was the fifth to earn a suspension after a review confirmed he left the bench area.

Here is a summary of the discipline that has been handed down and the events that led up to it.

MORE: Pelicans roast Stephen A. Smith after ESPN analyst blasted Zion Williamson

How long is Jimmy Butler suspended?

Butler has been suspended one game for “instigating and engaging in an on-court altercation.” Marshall has also been suspended one game for the same reason.

Butler will serve his one-game suspension on Monday, Feb. 26 when the Heat visit the Kings in Sacramento.

“I love it,” Butler said of the tension after the game. “I don’t want to get ejected — not because I’m not out there with my team. I don’t like the fine that I’m fixing to get. 

“I feel like, if I’m going to [get ejected], I should have just earned my fine a little bit more. I don’t think I should have gotten thrown first of all. So, New Orleans got lucky because I was fixing to come after y’all in the fourth quarter.”

Butler will miss one game check as he is suspended without pay.

Heat-Pelicans fight suspensions

Here’s the full list of players suspended for their roles in Friday night’s altercation:

  • Jimmy Butler (Heat): 1 game
  • Nikola Jovic (Heat): 1 game
  • Naji Marshall (Pelicans): 1 game
  • Jose Alvarado (Pelicans): 3 games
  • Thomas Bryant (Heat): 3 games

Jovic’s one-game suspension is for leaving the bench area and entering an on-court altercation. Alvarado and Bryant were each handed three-game suspensions for leaving the bench area and fighting with one another.

An in-arena look and alternate angles of the sideline altercation show that both Alvarado and Bryant threw punches after squaring up.

The Pelicans will travel to Miami to face the Heat on Friday, March 22.


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